John Agwunobi, an HHS assistant secretary for health and an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, said he will resign both positions on Sept. 4 to take the job as president of the professional services divisions for Wal-Mart.
Agwunobi, 42, will oversee the Bentonville, Ark.-based companys health and wellness business, including pharmacies, vision centers and healthcare clinics.
John is the countrys expert on public health, and I look forward to his contributions in furthering Wal-Marts health and wellness efforts, said Bill Simon, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Wal-Mart U.S., in a written statement.
For a little more than a year-and-a-half, Agwunobi has served as HHS Secretary Mike Leavitts chief public health adviser on topics such as disease prevention, health promotion, womens and minority health, HIV/AIDS and pandemic preparedness.
His leadership, counsel and expertise have contributed greatly to increasing Americans awareness and preparedness for pandemic influenza, encouraging adoption of healthier lifestyles and leading the renewal of the USPHS Commissioned Corps, Leavitt said in a written statement.
Prior to becoming the assistant secretary, he served as Floridas secretary of health from October 2001 to September 2005.
HHS has not named a replacement. A permanent position requires presidential appointment and confirmation by the Senate. -- by Matthew DoBias
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