Staples CEO Stepping Down By Mutual Agreement
Staples CEO Alexander Douglas is stepping down by mutual agreement with the company, reports Yahoo. Executive Chairman of the Board John A. Lederer will be appointed interim CEO of the company, effective Friday, June 18. Lederer has served as executive chairman of the board of Staples, Inc. since 2017, and as a senior advisor at Staples parent company, Sycamore Partners, since 2017.
Douglas joined the office supplies retailer in 2018 after a 30-year tenure at The Coca-Cola Company, where he most recently served as president of Coca-Cola North America. Staples' board of directors has commenced a search process to identify a permanent CEO.
Total Retail's Take: After just a two-year term as chief executive, Douglas' exit from Staples leaves one pondering if the decision was truly mutual. Since becoming private under Sycamore, Staples hasn't reported its financials, making it difficult to know just how the company performed during Douglas' tenure. In a company press release, incoming CEO Lederer specifically mentions "working closely with Chief Financial Officer Jeff Hall ... [to] execute on [Staples] growth strategy," hinting that there may be some heavy lifting needed in the finance department following Douglas' term.
This CEO transition comes as Staples continues to pursue an acquisition of its rival Office Depot. The two office supply chains have been locked in a back-and-forth negotiation since a merger of the two companies was rejected by the Federal Trade Commission in 2016. Earlier this year, Office Depot rejected a $2.1 billion bid from Staples to purchase the retailer, and proposed the companies consider alternative ventures. However, Staples hasn't given up on the idea, announcing a $1 billion bid for ODP's retail business in early June. While the targeted company said it would review the offer, Staples reiterated its willingness to go around the board with an offer direct to shareholders — i.e., a hostile takeover. It will be interesting to see how the new interim CEO Lederer will lead Staples through the short-term jockeying with the company's rival (and potential partner).
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.