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Karen Lynch, the Shot Caller at CVS

Lynch became the highest-ranking female executive in the U.S. in February when she took over at the fifth-largest public company by sales.
Karen Lynch

Karen Lynch

Photographer: Devin Christopher For Bloomberg Businessweek

Lynch’s first day on the job wasn’t how she’d envisioned it in the decades prior. With CVS’s headquarters closed because of the pandemic, she was home and on video calls. One perk? When the workday wrapped up, her grandson brought her cupcakes.

In those initial months, Lynch oversaw CVS’s part in the biggest immunization campaign in U.S. history. With almost 10,000 stores, America’s largest drugstore chain has played a vital role, administering about 40 million Covid-19 tests and more than 42 million vaccines as of late October. When she wasn’t in front of her computer, Lynch would help greet customers at stores to see how the effort was going. And, yes, she was vaccinated at a CVS. “My husband and I did it together,” she says. “You wouldn’t think I’d do it anywhere else, would you?”