Staples founder passes away

Tom Stemberg, the man credited with founding the office superstore concept, has died at the age of 66.

Stemberg co-founded Staples with Leo Kahn in 1986 and grew it into a multi-billion dollar business. He remained as CEO of the company until 2002, when he handed over the reins to current CEO Ron Sargent, but stayed on as Chairman for another three years.

After leaving Staples, Stemberg joined venture capital firm Highland Capital, becoming a founding General Partner of the Highland Consumer fund in 2007.

In a statement following the news of Stemberg’s passing, Sargent wrote:

“Tom was a great friend, mentor and colleague to many of us, and he will be greatly missed. Tom was a visionary who invented the office products superstore and turned it into a global industry.

“He had great energy, determination, and an incredible passion for our business. His entrepreneurial spirit and legacy will live on through the many people he inspired and the company he created. On a personal note, I’ll remember Tom for his great sense of humour and, most of all, his caring nature.”

Stemberg’s last major interview with OPI was in 2006 to mark the 20th anniversary of Staples.

By Andy Braithwaite for OPI

Picture credit: LA Times

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