Foulkes, former gubernatorial candidate, named Follette Higher Education’s executive chairwoman

PROVIDENCE – A former business leader who ran for governor this past election year will now shift her attention to national education.

Helena B. Foulkes, a former CVS Health Corp. executive, has been appointed as executive chairwoman of Westchester, Ill.-based Follett Higher Education Group’s board of directors. Follett Higher Education is a national education service provider and retailer that provides students, parents and faculty learning tools and retail services to support academics for college.

Follett Higher Education spokesperson Maggie Luddy told Providence Business News Monday in an email that Foulkes’ role is a part-time one and will dedicate two days per week to Follett. The executive chair’s role does not have a term limit, Luddy said.

Foulkes’ professional career includes working for CVS in Woonsocket for 25 years. She held various leadership roles, including president of CVS Pharmacy and executive vice president CVS Health, a position she held from January 2014 to January 2018. In 2018, Foulkes became CEO of Hudson Bay Co.

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Last year, Foulkes ran as a Democrat for governor, finishing second in the September primary to Daniel J. McKee – who was officially elected governor after taking over in 2021. In a statement, Foulkes is “excited” to both serve as chairwoman and support Follett Higher Education’s partnerships with college campuses across the U.S.

“This is an opportunity to help reimagine the future of Follett Higher Education and accelerate the company’s mission to inspire, enable and celebrate the academic journey,” Foulkes said.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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