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Boots Managing Director Sebastian James to step down

01 July 2024
News Brand

Walgreens Boots Alliance confirms that the Managing Director of Boots, Sebastian James, has given notice to leave the company to pursue a new role in the healthcare sector.  

Alongside Ornella Barra and the Boots senior leadership team, Seb has led the successful transformation of the Boots business into the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer. The business has delivered thirteen consecutive quarters of retail market share growth, most recently announcing strong Q3 results in June with growth across all categories. 

Since his appointment in 2018, Seb has contributed to reinventing the Boots beauty business, bringing in hundreds of new brands, re-fitting beauty halls up and down the UK and employing more specialist beauty advisors. Under his leadership, Boots has expanded its role as the UK’s largest pharmacy to become a leading healthcare business, now offering over 160 healthcare services for both private and NHS patients. 

Ornella Barra, Chief Operating Officer, International at Walgreens Boots Alliance, said: “On behalf of all colleagues at WBA and Boots, I would like to thank Seb for his role in the success of the business over the past years. His tenure has seen the company transform through a steadfast focus on investment, innovation and growth into the No.1 health and beauty destination in the UK. We thank Sebastian for his commitment – together with the Boots leadership team – to delivering a strong platform for success and sustainable, long-term growth, and wish him all the best for his next endeavour.”

Sebastian James, Managing Director of Boots, said: “It has been a pleasure to lead this fantastic company and support its transformation during my time as Managing Director. Now in its 175th year, Boots has shaped how people access health and beauty products on the high street and I am proud to have been part of a business that continues to hold a critical role at the centre of the UK health and beauty sectors. I look forward to seeing the business continue to succeed under its excellent leadership team.” 

Sebastian will continue with the company until November, with the business having commenced the process to recruit a Managing Director of Boots.


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and around 1,900 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 31 May 2024