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Office Depot on the hunt for a CEO


Office Depot has joined Staples in the search for a new chief executive.

Office Depot announced Monday that Roland Smith plans to retire as CEO of the company. In June, Staples CEO Ron Sargent stepped down and the chain is still looking for a successor. The resignations come several months after the merger between the two retailers was dropped over antitrust concerns.

Smith, who joined Office Depot in 2013, said he will remain with the firm until a successor is named, which is expected to be by the end of the first quarter of 2017. The company said it would look at both internal and external candidates for CEO. Smith is expected to remain chairman.

“My decision to retire has not been an easy one,” Smith said. “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. 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.”

Office Depot also announced Monday that it is reorganizing its executive committee to better align with the three-year strategic plan it earlier this month. The retailer is consolidating its retail, contract, ecommerce and marketing operations. The functions will now report to Troy Rice, who has been named to the newly-created position of COO North America. Rice currently serves as Office Depot’s executive VP, 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 also named Rob Koch to the newly-created position of executive VP, business development, where he will be responsible for identifying and commercializing new business opportunities. He will have substantial responsibility for rolling out Office Depot’s store of the future and the expansion of adjacency opportunities. Koch is currently senior VP, real estate, and will continue to oversee the company’s real estate portfolio.

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