Office Depot, Inc. a global provider of office supplies and services, announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Gerry P. Smith as Chief Executive Officer of the company, effective February 27, 2017. Gerry Smith will succeed current CEO Roland Smith, who previously announced his intention to retire from the company.
An experienced executive, Gerry Smith currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Lenovo Group, a $45 billion leading global technology company. During his time at Lenovo, he was instrumental in defining and leading the company’s ambitious growth objectives and operational efficiencies, which drove increases in market share and profitability.
“On behalf of the Board, I’m pleased that we recruited a leader with Gerry’s broad skill set to lead Office Depot at this important time in the company’s history,” said Warren Bryant, Lead Director of the Board of Directors and Chair of the CEO Search Committee. “Gerry possesses significant operating expertise, having successfully led business units across Lenovo’s entire product portfolio, including an industry recognized supply chain organization. His long-standing relationships with some of Office Depot’s largest suppliers will enable him to quickly transition into the role. Additionally, we are impressed with Gerry’s demonstrated ability to lead large, complex organizations.”
“I am delighted to accept the position of Chief Executive Officer at Office Depot,” said Gerry Smith. “Roland and his team have implemented a compelling three-year strategy and clearly put the company on a positive trajectory. I look forward to continuing the company’s momentum and identifying additional opportunities to provide customers with an exceptional experience, drive innovation and growth in products and services, while delivering value to the company’s shareholders.”
“Roland has been an outstanding CEO and, on behalf of the entire Board, I’d like to express our sincere appreciation for his leadership,” continued Bryant. “He has consistently delivered positive results, led the successful integration of Office Depot and OfficeMax to achieve synergies and efficiencies significantly exceeding original expectations, and he created and implemented a new three-year strategic plan. As a result of his contributions, the company is well positioned for continued future success.”
“As I communicated last fall, stepping away from Office Depot has not been an easy decision,” said Roland Smith. “I’m extremely proud of what our management team and associates have accomplished. During the past three years, we have delivered a significant improvement in profitability, made substantial progress on all the components of our strategic plan and now have an incoming CEO with an outstanding track record of producing results. With that solid foundation, now is the right time for me to focus on realizing some of my personal ambitions. I want to thank the entire Office Depot team for their incredible hard work, dedication and support during my tenure.”
In connection with this transition, the Board sought to diversify the overall corporate governance structure with the selection of an independent non-executive Board Chairman to lead the Board of Directors. Current Board member Joseph S. Vassalluzzo will become Chairman effective February 27, 2017. Vassalluzzo joined the Office Depot Board in August 2013 and currently serves as Chair of the Finance and Integration Committee. He also serves as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board for Federal Realty Investment Trust and previously served as Lead Director for Lifetime Fitness. Earlier, he was employed by Staples, Inc., most recently as Vice Chairman.
In conjunction with his appointment as CEO, Gerry Smith will also join the Office Depot Board as a director.
The company plans to release its fourth quarter financial results on March 1, 2017.