Roland Smith Retiring, Office Depot Reorganizing Executive Committee

With its merger with office supplies rival Staples off the table, Office Depot, Inc. is taking care of business. Office Depot is reorganizing its executive committee to better align with a three-year strategic plan unveiled by the company during its second quarter earnings call earlier this month.

And with that, CEO Roland Smith also announced that he plans to retire as Office Depot’s CEO. Smith will continue to serve in that capacity until a successor is named, which is expected by the end of first quarter 2017. Smith will remain Office Depot’s chairman.

Office Depot is consolidating its retail, contract, ecommerce and marketing operations to better serve our customers in today’s omni-channel marketplace. These functions will now report to Troy Rice, who has been named to the newly-created position of Chief Operating Officer, North America. Rice currently serves as Office Depot’s Executive Vice President, Retail, where he successfully led the integration of the Office Depot and OfficeMax store operations, drove same store sales improvements and significantly grew operating profit.

The company has also named Rob Koch to the newly-created position of Executive Vice President, Business Development, where he will be responsible for identifying and commercializing new business opportunities. In this role, Koch will have substantial responsibility for rolling out Office Depot’s store of the future and the expansion of adjacency opportunities, including Jan-San. Koch is currently Senior Vice President, Real Estate, and will continue to oversee the company’s real estate portfolio, including leading Phase II of the retail optimization plan.

Rice and Koch will report to Mark Cosby, President, North America, until a new CEO is named, at which time the President and CEO roles will be consolidated and they will report directly to the CEO and serve on the company’s executive committee.

Additionally, Steve Calkins, Executive Vice President, Contract, has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. Calkins is a seasoned legal and business leader who previously served as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of the company, as well as spent a number of years in private law practice. Calkins replaces Elisa Garcia, who recently left the company. Calkins will report to the CEO and serve on the company’s executive committee.

Known as a turnaround specialist, Smith became chairman and CEO of Office Depot, Inc. in November 2013 following the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax. Smith was the president and CEO of Delhaize America, LLC, which owns supermarket chains including Food Lion and Hannaford. Before that, Smith was president and CEO of The Wendy’s Company; president and CEO of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc.; and CEO of Wendy’s International, Inc., and was charged with completing the acquisition and merger of Wendy’s by Arby’s. Smith also led operational turnarounds at American Golf Corporation and AMF.

“My decision to retire has not been an easy one. In 2013, I set aside a number of personal ambitions to accept a three-year contract with Office Depot, and it’s now time for me to refocus on those priorities,” Smith said. “I am extraordinarily proud of what the Office Depot team has accomplished these past three years, and I am confident that we will successfully execute our new strategy and grow shareholder value.”

Last week, Staples also announced its post-non-merger plans, which includes doubling down on its B2B business.

Tim Parry is Multichannel Merchant’s Managing Editor, and the lead programmer for Growing Global.

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