Alliance Boots has cited "stress" as being among the key reasons why Andy Hornby left his role as group chief executive this year.
Mr Hornby, who was the chief executive of the bank HBOS at the time it almost collapsed, shocked the retail world by quitting in March less than two years into the job. Stefano Pessina, the executive chairman of Alliance Boots, said that Mr Hornby was "stressed", and added: "He had difficulties with us. He had decided to come back too early at a company where the work load is substantial."
At the time, Mr Hornby, 44, said he wanted to "take a few months' break", after an "intense last five years". Speculation also suggested that the group's executive structure may not have suited him. Mr Pessina and his partner, Ornella Barra, the chief executive of its pharmaceutical wholesale division, and Alex Gourlay, the chief executive of the health and beauty division, all have a big influence on strategy.
Mr Pessina said Alliance Boots would look to appoint a new chief executive but it was in "no hurry".