Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) (NASDAQ: WAG) named a new vice-president of purchasing on Friday, replacing its previous officer who left the company.

The company said Van Howe, who joined the firm in 2000 as a general merchandise manager, will be promoted to vice president of purchasing. Coming with over 30 years of experience, Howe will replace Robert Kral who left to pursue outside interests.

“From the very beginning of his career at Walgreens, Dave has proved to be a strong developer of staff members and has fostered strong relationships with people across all divisions of the company as well as with our outside vendors,” said Jeffrey A. Rein, Walgreens President and CEO.

Walgreen Co. is the nation's largest drugstore chain, with 5,675 stores and fiscal 2006 sales of $47.4 billion.