Office Depot CEO steps down after merger failure

The failed marriage of Office Depot and Staples has claimed another CEO. Nearly three months after Staples chief Ron Sargent made his sad exit, the Depot’s top exec Roland Smith announced his departure.

Smith isn’t leaving immediately but will remain as CEO until a successor is named, so tell Shannon in marketing she can stop pretending to casually stand near his office because we all know she’s just trying to call dibs on his sweet desk blotter.

The outgoing CEO, who hasn’t even been with Office Depot for three full years, is also expected to retain his spot as Chairman of the Office Depot board, according to a statement from the company.

“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,” says Smith in a statement. “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.”

In Feb. 2015, Staples and Office Depot announced a $6,3-billion merger, nearly two decades after federal antitrust regulators blocked the retailers’ first marriage. Then earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission sued to block this latest deal,

After nearly a year of investigating the deal, the Federal Trade Commission sued to block the merger, arguing that further consolidation would harm competition nationwide in the market for “consumable” office supplies – pens, paper, sticky notes, etc. – sold to large business customers.

In May 2016, a federal judge sided with the government, putting an end to merger, and to the careers of Sargent and Smith, who joined Office Depot while it was in the middle of successfully acquiring OfficeMax.

Earlier this month, Office Depot announced it would close 300 stores on top of the 400 it had already planned to close by the end of 2016.

By Chris Morran for www.consumerist.com

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