Steve Matyas, Staples

homeworld players matyasThe August 15 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 11th Annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Steve Matyas, Staples, President, North American Retail

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Staples recently appointed veteran Steve Matyas president of North American retail at a time of executive restructuring after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission challenged the company’s acquisition bid for Office Depot and U.S. Federal Court ruled against the retailer’s suit to upend that challenge.

Before his most recent appointment, Matyas had been president of Staples Canada/Bureau en Gros since 2000 and a member of the company’s executive committee, a position he will retain. He joined Business Depot Ltd. in Canada in 1991, dubbed Bureau en Gros in Quebec, an operation affiliated with Staples, and over time served as vp/operations, human resources and store planning, and vp/sales and operations. Staples later acquired the Canadian operation.

WHAT TO WATCH: After the collapse of the Office Depot acquisition effort, Staples said that its go-forward strategy would focus on reshaping its business and refocusing on mid-market commercial customers in North America as well categories beyond office supplies.

Matyas will oversee critical elements of a four-part strategy that first will devote resources to serving the needs of mid-market business customers, at least in part by offering products and services beyond office supplies and core office furniture to include home furnishings and housewares, break room supplies and promotional merchandise. In addition, Staples said it would hire more than 1,000 additional employees to boost its mid-market sales force. The company is aiming to invest in lower prices to support that initiative and improve supply chain capabilities.

PERSPECTIVE: According to a published report, Matyas is taking a few weeks to evaluate how he is going to proceed with Staples’ strategies and his appointment to head up the North American business. Although the challenge may be a tough one, S&P Capital IQ analyst Efraim Levy pointed out Staples’ strong balance sheet and cash generation, which he characterized as positive factors that the company can use as a starting point to further its strategy.

2017 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):