Office Depot (NASDAQ:ODP) has named Roland Smith as its Chairman and CEO following the successful completion of the merger between Office Depot and OfficeMax, which was officially concluded last week.
Smith joins Office Depot following his tenure as CEO of Delhaize America, which is the U.S. division of Delhaize Group, an international grocery chain. Delhaize America includes popular supermarkets Food Lion and Hannaford, and it brought in more than $18 billion in annual revenue, which is approximately 65% of the total revenue at Delhaize Group.
Before his time at Delhaize, Smith was CEO at The Wendy's Company, Wendy's/Arby's Group, and Wendy's International. At these companies, Smith assisted in numerous major initiatives, including Arby's acquisition of its largest franchisee, the merger and acquisition of Wendy's by Arby's, and the sale of Arby's in 2011. In addition, he led the turnaround efforts at AMF, and American Golf Corporation, the world's largest owner and operator of bowling alleys and golf courses, respectively.
As a result of the appointment of Smith, Office Depot also announced the resignations of Neil Austrian and Ravi Saligram, formerly co-CEOs of Office Depot, and the CEOs of Office Depot and Office Max, respectively, before the merger.
"With the combined resources of Office Depot and OfficeMax, we have the ability to transform the company and create an exciting new organization that exceeds the needs and desires of our customers, provides new opportunities for our global associates, becomes a more appealing partner to our vendors, and increases value for our shareholders," said Smith in the company press release.
He continued, "Moving forward, my focus will be on fully integrating the two companies, achieving the planned synergies, creating a compelling vision for the future, and leveraging our infrastructure and assets to drive improved profitability and increased revenue."
Office Depot and Office Max will now represent the second-largest office supply chain in the U.S., with $17 billion in revenue, trailing only Staples, which had $24 billion in revenue last year. The merger was announced in February of this year, and was approved by the FTC in early November.
In the announcement of the transaction, former Office Depot CEO Neil Austrian said the reason behind the transaction was that, "In the past decade, with the growth of the Internet, our industry has changed dramatically. Combining our two companies will enhance our ability to serve customers around the world, offer new opportunities for our employees, make us a more attractive partner to our vendors, and increase stockholder value."
Office Depot Lead Director Nigel Travis praised Smith as "uniquely qualified for the newly combined Office Depot and OfficeMax. He has decades of experience integrating companies and cultures and an impressive track record in turning around businesses." The company said it evaluated more than 100 candidates for the CEO job.
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