Rite Aid picks Jeff Olson to lead communications

Olson is a veteran of ICF Next, McDonald’s, Golin and FleishmanHillard.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

CAMP HILL, PA: Rite Aid has hired Jeff Olson as VP of corporate communications.

Olson started in the role on April 15, reporting to COO Jim Peters. Olson said the top comms position is “redefined and new” but did not elaborate on how the communications team was structured.

Susan Henderson previously led comms at Rite Aid as SVP and chief communications officer. She was not immediately available for comment.

Last August, Heyward Donigan was named Rite Aid’s CEO, replacing John Standley, and Peters joined as COO in October.

“As they have built out the leadership team, they’ve restructured quite a bit of the organization,” said Olson. He noted that at Rite Aid’s analyst day in March, Donigan said, "It's time for a radical change. This is our RxEvolution."

“In 12 months, we'll be a visibly different company,” Olson said in a LinkedIn post about the role.

He told PRWeek that, in partnership with the leadership team, the comms team is building “a whole new” Rite Aid.

“We are building comms that will focus on purpose, and that will be a thread through the comms plan and all that we do,” he said. “We are looking to modernize comms, which will include more rich media content and more storytelling and the ability to have two-way conversations with customers and employees.”

He added that the company is looking to support employees on the front lines with COVID-19 and “making sure we are doing all we can to keep our communities safe.”

Olson is overseeing seven staffers and is responsible for all facets of communications such as internal comms, external comms, such as PR and media relations, and executive comms.

Olson was a senior partner at ICF Next and exited the firm in January. Before that, he was an EVP at Olson Engage. ICF Next was created in December 2018 via the combination of Olson Engage, Olson Digital, Olson1to1, PulsePoint Group, the Future Customer, We Are Vista and other shops.

Olson also spent eight years at McDonald’s in various positions, most recently as senior director of communications. He has also worked at Golin and FleishmanHillard.

Rite Aid posted revenue of $5.73 billion, beating analysts’ expectations for its fiscal Q4, which ended on February 29.

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