OPERATIONS

Dollar General announces changes to board

BY Staff Writer

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General Corporation announced the resignations of Raj Agrawal and Adrian Jones as members of its board of directors effective Dec. 5. Agrawal, a member of KKR & Co. (LP), and Jones, a managing director at Goldman, Sachs & Co., have served as directors of Dollar General since 2007.

The entity controlled by KKR and Goldman Sachs, which purchased the company in 2007, now owns less than 2% of the company’s outstanding common stock. Based on this reduced level of ownership, KKR and Goldman Sachs have determined to reduce or eliminate, as applicable, their representation on the company’s board of directors. Mike Calbert, a member of KKR, will continue to serve as the lead director.

“Raj and Adrian have made substantial contributions to the success of Dollar General. Their judgment and financial acumen have benefited both Dollar General employees and shareholders, and I appreciate their support over the years. On behalf of the entire board of directors, I thank them for their service to Dollar General,” said Rick Dreiling, chairman and chief executive officer.

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OPERATIONS

Mall of America unifies consumer communication channels with online portal

BY Staff Writer

New York — Mall of America unveiled an “Enhanced Service Portal” designed to improve the digital and physical shopping experience by integrating all the communication channels through which consumers contact the shopping center into a unified service.

All requests and questions received through primary communication channels available to Mall of America consumers will be routed via the new portal, which is called ESP. ESP brings together the Mall of America website; social media channels; telephone, text and dispatch teams; guest services and security into a newly designed space that will allow the ESP team members to actively listen to consumers and retailers and promptly respond to them.

“The Enhanced Service Portal will strengthen the connection between guests, retailers and Mall of America by making shopping experiences easier than ever before,” said Maureen Bausch, Mall of America executive VP of business development. “Our priority is to provide superior guest service to everyone who visits Mall of America, and our new Enhanced Service Portal exemplifies this effort in a way that no other mall in the country can match.”

Consumers can interact with the ESP team before arriving at Mall of America to get driving directions and information about parking or events. ESP can also help consumers with anything from basic requests, such as bag checks and information about specific retailers, to more personalized needs, such as dining and shopping recommendations.

The full suite of ESP services will, in time, include concierges who can meet with consumers in person, as needed.

ESP was piloted in September and October and launches now ahead of the holiday shopping season.

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OPERATIONS

Turnaround expert Roland Smith named CEO of Office Depot

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Office Depot Inc. — the new entity created by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax — named Roland Smith as CEO, effective immediately. Smith, 59, most recently served as CEO of Delhaize American, a division of Belgian grocery giant Delhaize Group. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of The Wendy’s Co., holding company for the Wendy’s chain.

Smith’s appointment comes a week after Office Depot closed its $1.2 billion merger with OfficeMax. In conjunction with his appointment, the two CEOs of Office Depot and OfficeMax, Neil Austrian and Ravi Saligram respectively, who were serving as co-CEOs of the combined company, both resigned.

Smith comes to Office Depot "with a strong retail track record of increasing operating profit, managing complex integrations, directing corporate turnarounds and transforming companies for future success," the company said in a statement.

Smith has acquired a reputation as a turnaround expert He joined Arby’s in 1994 and was named CEO in 1997. From 1996 to 1998, the chain nearly tripled its operating profit and improved same-store sales.

He then moved on to AMF Bowling Worldwide Inc., where he took the company into and out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reduced debt by two-thirds. He next ran American Golf, where he increased revenue. In 2006, he returned to Arby’s, where he helped oversee its merger with Wendy’s.

“I know that numerous cross-company teams have worked diligently over the past eight months to create a clear blueprint for the integration of Office Depot and OfficeMax," Smith said. "Moving forward, my focus will be on fully integrating the two companies, achieving the planned synergies, creating a compelling vision for the future, and leveraging our infrastructure and assets to drive improved profitability and increased revenue. Additionally, I fully understand that we need to make a headquarters decision quickly so that we can drive our integration efforts.”

Smith said the companies’ combined resources have the ability to transform the merged company to "provide new opportunities for our global associates, become a more appealing partner to our vendors and increase value for our shareholders."

Nigel Travis, Office Depot’s lead director, co-chair of the CEO selection committee and chairman and CEO of Dunkin’ Brands, said he Selection Committee spent several months evaluating more than 100 candidates.

“Roland is uniquely qualified for the newly combined Office Depot and OfficeMax,” Travis said. “He has decades of experience integrating companies and cultures and an impressive track record in turning around businesses. Additionally, he brings outstanding leadership that will be invaluable as we seek to transform and grow our new company.”

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