Staples CEO Stepping Down After Failed Office Depot Acquisition

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

Staples announced today that its chairman and chief executive officer, Ron Sargent, is giving the public his two-week notice: he’ll be stepping down on June 14, after the company’s next shareholders meeting. Sargent has been CEO of the office superchain since 2002, and has worked for Staples since 1989, when the company was only three years old.

ron-sargent-ceo“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,” Robert Sulentic, the board’s Independent Lead Director, said in a statement. New management with a plan for growth other than acquiring the chain’s only national competitor in selling office supplies to medium and large businesses, that is.

Staples really, really wanted to acquire Office Depot, a national competitor in retail office-supply stores and in the corporate contract supply business. The Federal Trade Commission was granted an injunction stopping the merger earlier this month. The retailers didn’t bother putting up a defense against the agency’s claim that their merger would be bad for competition and for their corporate customers.

The company’s president of North America Operations, Shira Goodman, will take over as interim CEO, and they will interview internal and external candidates for the permanent post. Sargent will stay on as a “non-executive” chairman until the current fiscal year ends and the end of January 2017.

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