FINANCE

Office Depot chief resigns after SEC settlement

BY CSA STAFF

Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot announced Monday that its chairman and CEO Steve Odland has resigned from the company. The departure comes just days after Office Depot, Odland and the former CFO were levied with civil penalties related to an SEC probe.

Odland’s departure, effective Nov. 1, is by mutual agreement with the Office Depot board of directors, said the company.

Office Depot recently reported that it agreed to pay $1 million to settle federal charges that it overstated earnings and revealed information to a group of investors and analysts that it failed to include in public filings. Odland and former CFO Patricia McKay each will pay civil penalties of $50,000.

Odland will be replaced in the interim by lead director and former NFL president Neil Austrian, who will step in as interim chairman and CEO. Odland will remain on board as a consultant until the end of the year. Office Depot has tapped Heidrick & Struggles to find a permanent replacement.

Austrian said in a statement that "this is an appropriate time to seek new leadership to make the most of the platform we have in place, return to sales growth, improve financial performance and reinvigorate our franchise."

In 2008, a dissident shareholder group rallied to replace Odland and former chairman David Fuente from the board but withdrew its nominees in the face of resistance from major proxy advisory firms.

Office Depot operates 1,600 stores worldwide.

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P&G unites innovation with value for multipronged campaign

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK In response to a national survey, which found that many women often are disappointed with their purchase of household products and desire more product innovation, Procter & Gamble has developed the multipronged “Have You Tried This Yet?” campaign as a way to highlight the manufacturer’s newer, more unique products. As part of the campaign, P&G opened to the public on Oct. 22 an interactive pop-up store in New York to drive awareness and product trials.

The temporary store, located at 101 West 57th St. near Sixth Avenue, will be open through Oct. 31, offering consumers free demonstrations and product samples from such brands as Olay, CoverGirl, Febreze, Charmin, Pringles, Bounty and Tide.

“What you are seeing here is a few of the products that really have a lot of consumer appeal and are, from a performance and a value standpoint, beneficial to the consumer,” Nataraj Iyer, P&G’s associate marketing director of multibrand commercial innovation, said during a special media preview event the evening of Oct. 21. “The key is we are trying to make sure that the consumers understand the performance of the products because she has indicated to us, through surveys and so forth, that she finds it very difficult to find new products and why she should change. So one of the ideas of bringing all of these things together is to really bring together these innovations.”

The event also included brief presentations by Michelle Callahan, a TV host, relationship expert, coach and developmental psychologist; Rolanda Johnson, a P&G Beauty scientist who is responsible for working with dermatologists and clinicians; and Kimberly Danger, the creator of Mommysavers.com, frugal expert and author.

When browsing the pop-up store, consumers will find a variety of interactive stations including, but not limited to:

  • AClairol Nice’n Easy station where they can learn about the line and even schedule an appointment for a free hair coloring at the pop-up store;
  • A Crest 3D White station where they can see computer-generated before-and-after photos of their teeth when using the Crest 3D White teeth whitening system;
  • A skin care station where consumers can test the luminosity of their skin and discover the benefits of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum;
  • A makeup station where beauty mavens can get a makeover using CoverGirl products, including CoverGirl Clean Makeup;
  • A station where consumers can discover the benefits of using the Bounce Dryer Bar and Tide Stain Release In-Wash Booster.

There also are several computers located in the store so consumers can sign up to receive samples, coupons and product reviews via PGtryit.com, as well as visit the eStore, which sells P&G brands.

Overall, the campaign brings together 18 different products, from across a range of categories, which have been launched in the past 16 to 18 months. Aside from the pop-up store, the campaign also includes direct-response TV, newspaper advertisements and direct-to-consumer mailings that will reach about 10 million consumers. The campaign also will be supported in P&G’s BrandSaver coupon booklet, which reaches 57 million households and offers more than $113 in savings.

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RILA names VP government affairs

BY CSA STAFF

ARLINGTON, Va. The Retail Industry Leaders Association has announced the addition of long-time Capitol Hill veteran Doug Thompson as VP government affairs.

Thompson has spent the last 21 years as an aide to Congressman John Tanner (D-TN), serving as Legislative Director for the past 17 years.

“Doug’s tenure on Capitol Hill and his experience working on tough issues, place him among the most experienced and talented legislative minds on or off Capitol Hill. We are thrilled to have him as part of the RILA team,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy.

In his new capacity at RILA, Thompson will focus on issues including financial services and privacy as well as judiciary issues, including organized retail crime, the organization reported.

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