Staples CEO Ron Sargent will step down

May 31, 2016 04:36 PM

Longtime Staples Inc. CEO Ron Sargent will vacate the top job, effective June 14 after the office supplies retailer’s annual shareholders’ meeting, the company said Tuesday. Taking over as interim CEO will be Shira Goodman, Staples’ president, North America operations, who oversees e-commerce, retail and business-to-business operations.

Sargent, who joined Staples in 1989, has been CEO since 2002. Staples, No. 5 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, is fresh off abandoning plans to merge with Office Depot Inc. (No. 9) after a federal judge prevented the companies from merging pending a full-blown trial in the Federal Trade Commission’s administrative court. The FTC had sought to block the$6.3 billion deal on antitrust concerns. The two retailers on May 10 said they would not appeal U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s ruling, which effectively blocked the merger.

In its Q1 2016 earnings report released in mid-May, Staples reported sales through were flat year over year, and its combined North American and online sales declined 5.2% to $2.247 billion from $2.372 billion last year.

 “Under Ron, Staples made consistent advancements that ensured and extended the company’s market leadership in the office products sector. Most notably he drove the growth of the commercial contract business which is central to Staples’ go-forward strategy,” said Robert Sulentic, independent lead director of Staples’ board of directors. “He also worked diligently on the acquisition of Office Depot and the board appreciates the strong effort he made to secure governmental approval. With the termination of the merger, we mutually agreed that now is the right time to transition to new management to lead Staples through its next phase of growth. Shira has tremendous experience and a long track record of success at Staples, always bringing fresh perspective and change to every role she has had.”

Goodman has worked at Staples since 1992 and in January was promoted to her current role. She replaced Demos Parneros, who resigned as president of North American stores and online and left Staples at the end of March. Prior to Staples, Goodman worked as a manager at Bain and Co., helping to develop the strategy to launch Staples’ delivery business.

Sargent is expected to continue as a director and non-executive chairman through Jan. 28, 2017, when Staples’ 2016 fiscal year ends, the company said. A search committee led by the board of directors and an executive search firm will seek a new CEO, considering internal and external candidates, Staples said. 




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