Staples Replacing CEO Shira Goodman With Former Coca-Cola Exec
Staples announced Friday that it's replacing Shira Goodman, its current chief executive officer, with J. Alexander (Sandy) Douglas, who most recently was president of Coca-Cola North America. The move takes place less than a year after private equity firm Sycamore Partners acquired control of the office products retailer. At Coca-Cola, Douglas led the $10 billion revenue business, encompassing all aspects of its consumer and B-to-B operations. During his 30-year tenure at Coca-Cola, Douglas also served as global chief customer officer, and held a variety of positions across sales and marketing. Douglas will start at Staples on April 2.
John Lederer, executive chairman of Staples, will lead the company on a day-to-day basis during the transition. “I'm honored to be joining Staples as CEO,” said Douglas. “Together with the company’s leadership and its associates, we will work to drive the business forward as we continue to deliver exceptional products, service and expertise to Staples’ customers.”
Total Retail's Take: The news of Goodman's ouster is somewhat surprising. Goodman, who was featured on the 2017 list of Total Retail's Top Women in Retail, began leading the office supply retailer in 2016, shortly after Staples failed to merge with Office Depot. She was previously president of Staples’ North American operations and has served in various leadership roles at the company since 1992. When private equity firm Sycamore Partners acquired Staples for $6.9 billion late last year, managing director Stefan Kaluzny expressed confidence in Goodman’s leadership. By that point, Staples had annual revenue of about $18 billion and about 60,000 employees, and the company had pared back its retail empire to about 1,500 stores. Goodman had been trying to increase the company’s focus on business customers by bulking up its sales force to target midsized companies, which aligned with Sycamore's vision for Staples. It will be interesting to see how a leader in the CPG space transitions to a traditional retail company. But perhaps that's the point: Staples is clearly trying to move away from its store model, which is increasingly being threatened by the likes of Amazon.com and other retailers that sell less-expensive goods. Staples’ business still has some bright spots and profitable segments, and we will be watching how the company performs with Douglas at the helm.