Office Depot reshuffles personnel

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Office Depot has combined its two largest divisions and named Kevin Peters to the new role of president of North America. The change gives Peters, who previously served as president of North American retail, continuing oversight of the retail group in addition to leadership of the company’s North American business solutions division which is focused on large and mid-size commercial customers.

“For the first time, we are consolidating all of our North American operations under one leader, allowing us to break down silos, increase our productivity and improve the execution of our key initiatives,” Austrian said. “We are confident that this approach will help us to better serve our business customers and consumers.”

The change means Steve Schmidt, who previously served as president of the North American business solutions division will assume a new role as EVP corporate strategy and new business development. Meanwhile, other executives will take on new or expanded responsibilities. For example, the company named Bob Moore EVP and chief marketing officer, while Farla Efros was named interim head of merchandising. Both report to Austrian who himself was named president and CEO earlier this year after leading in his capacity as a board member and interim CEO after six-month search to replaced former CEO Steve Odland who left the company last fall.

“Despite a challenging economy and limited growth in our industry, we are making the changes necessary to drive profitable sales in all of our channels, better leverage our infrastructure and assets, and build our brand,” Austrian noted. “We now have the right priorities, the right people and the right structure in place to successfully execute our plans, accelerate our growth, and make Office Depot an even stronger competitor in the marketplace.”

Peters joined Office Depot as EVP supply chain in 2007 and was appointed EVP supply chain and information technology in 2009. The following year he was named president of North American retail. Peter came to Office Depot from W.W. Grainger where he had served as SVP supply chain and merchandising, but prior to that he was with the Home Depot for 11 years.

The appointment of Moore as head of marketing comes after just three months of serving in that capacity on an interim basis. Moore boasts some impressive credentials and most recently led marketing for Bausch & Lomb in the Americas and then serve as president and general manager of U.S. Vision Care. Prior to that, was EVP marketing at Staples. He also did an earlier stint at Bausch & Lomb’s Ray-Ban division and began his career as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble.

Office Depot’s new interim merchandising chief currently serves as an SVP for consulting and deals with a leading advisory firm and previously spent 10 years at The Partnering Group Inc., where she was responsible for the development of best practices category, customer and trade promotion management.

Other changes at the company involved the appointment of Michael Allison as EVP human resources, following the retirement of Daisy Vanderlinde. Allison joined Office Depot in 2007 as VP human resources after previously serving as EVP of human resources for Victoria's Secret Direct.

In addition to the departure of Vanderlinde, Monica Luechtefeld, EVP of E-Commerce and direct marketing, is retiring and her duties will be assumed by Barry Litwin, VP e-commerce and Christine Buscarino, VP direct and customer marketing.

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