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CEO search almost over at Office Depot/Max


The field of candidates to serve as CEO of the merged Office Depot and OfficeMax has been narrowed to five with September set as the goal to have an executive in place to lead the $18 billion combined company.

While an update on the CEO hiring is a little unconventional, the so is the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax against the backdrop of an ongoing proxy fight with an activist investor seeking to install its own slate of board members.

The disclosure around the CEO hiring brings transparency to the overall integration planning process and demonstrate thoroughness since 100 candidates, internal and external, were initially screened. Since then, a search committee led by OfficeMax board member and former president and CEO of Alberto Culver, Jim Marino, and Office Depot board member and Dunkin’ Brands chairman and CEO, Nigel Travis, interviewed eight candidates and narrowed the field to five finalists.

The goal is to have a CEO in place by September, roughly seven months after Office Depot and OfficeMax entered into their merger agreement. However, at the time the deal was announced it was undecided who would serve as CEO, where the combined company’s headquarters would be located and what name it would operate under. Nevertheless, shareholders of both companies approved the deal in July and subject to regulatory approval it is expected to close by the end of this year.

"Our objective is to have a candidate in place prior to the closing of the merger to address critical issues such as headquarters location, company name, culture and strategy,” Travis said.

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