Ornella Barra is the Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division at Alliance Boots – the healthcare and pharmacy chain, which was created in 2006 from the £7.9 billion merger of the healthcare group Alliance and Boots.
Ornella Barra manages the Wholesale and Commercial Affairs within Alliance Boots and is a board member of the company.
Ornella Barra originally trained as a pharmacist at Genoa University and went on to get a job at a local pharmacy.
Heralding from a family of entrepreneurs, Ornella Barra, arranged with her parents to buy her own pharmacy, which developed into a successful regional drugs distribution business.
Ornella’s investment paid off, when in 1986, the business was sold to Alleanza Salute Italia (ASI), the rival distributor, for a moderate fortune.
Ornella Barra stayed on, joining ASI as Managing Director, and soon shot up the ranks, under the watchful eye Stefano Pessina, who founded the businesses and was on a spending spree across southern Europe.
After obtaining assets in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Morocco, ASI was renamed Alliance Sante and by 1996, the company was turning over £3.1 billion, however the British group UniChem wasn’t as successful. The following year the groups joined forces to form Alliance UniChem. Steffano Pissano became deputy chairman, while Ornella Barra, joined the board and continued to run the business in southern Europe.
In December 2008, as Special Professor at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, Ornella, told chemists of the future that Alliance Boots is fully committed to the profession and called out for entrepreneurs under the changing nature of the pharmaceutical industry.
Ornella Barra explained that the industry was being affected by deregulation, supermarket and online competition and the demands of patients for more information and control over their healthcare, forcing the need for pharmacists to be proactive and communicate and advise patients.