Sargent Steps Down, Staples Starts CEO Search

After ending its acquisition of Office Depot, Staples has announced that its board of directors and CEO Ron Sargent have mutually agreed that he will step down from his position after the company’s annual meeting of shareholders on June 14.

Shira Goodman, Staples’ president, North America operations, will become interim CEO at that time, the company said.

Upon re-election at the annual meeting, Sargent will continue to serve as a director and as non-executive chairman through the company’s 2016 fiscal year, ending on January 28, 2017. A special board committee will conduct a search for a new permanent CEO with the support of an executive search firm, Staples added, considering both internal and external candidates.

Robert Sulentic, Staples board independent lead director, stated, “The entire board would like to thank Ron for his nearly three decades of dedicated service and leadership at Staples. 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. 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.”

The United States Federal Trade Commission raised objections to the proposed acquisition, and after a U.S. District Court issued a temporary injunction halting the merger process, the two companies ended their merger plans.

Sargent said, “It has been an incredible honor to have worked with the talented and dedicated team at Staples for the past 27 years through a dynamic and ground-breaking time for the company, our customers and the retail industry overall. I want to sincerely thank our associates and partners, every one of whom helped to deliver value for our customers.”

As president, North American operations, Goodman is responsible for Staples’ business-to-business, online and retail operations across the U.S. and Canada. Previously, she was president of Staples North American commercial from 2014 where she was responsible for Staples Business Advantage and Quill.com. In addition, she was head of the company’s supply chain and customer service operations in North America. In Goodman’s 23 years with the company, she has worked in almost every area of Staples, including e-commerce, contract, high-growth markets, strategy, marketing and human resources.

“I am excited to take on this new role as the Staples team executes our strategic initiatives to drive shareholder value and position Staples for the next phase of growth. I am confident that we can do so by intensifying our focus on our best growth opportunities with mid-market business customers in North America and in key categories beyond office supplies,” said Goodman.