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Staples CEO out; replacement named

BY Marianne Wilson

Less than five months after an ownership change, Staples has announced a change in leadership.

In a brief statement, Staples said that Shira Goodman is stepping down as president and CEO of the company, to be replaced by J. Alexander (Sandy) Douglas as CEO, effective April 2, 2018. The Wall Street Journal reported that Goodman’s last day was Friday, January 26.

Douglas is a 30-year veteran of The Coca-Cola Company, serving most recently as president of Coca-Cola North America. He also served as global chief customer officer, and held a variety of positions across sales and marketing.

Goodman, who joined Staples in 1992, was named interim CEO of the company in May 2016, after Ron Sargent resigned in the wake of the chain’s failed attempt to acquire rival Office Depot. She assumed the role on a permanent basis in September 2016.

She departs Staples less than five months after Sycamore Partners completed its $6.9 billion acquisition of Staples in a deal that took the company private. The transaction allowed Sycamore to organize Staples along three lines: its stronger delivery business, its weaker retail business and its business in Canada. The structure will give Sycamore the option to wind down or shed Staples’ retail business in the future. Tellingly, Staples refers to itself as  the “leading North American business-to-business distribution platform.”

Staples has been working to improve its business by shifting from its traditional emphasis on serving consumers to one that also targets small- and mid-sized companies. It has closed over 300 stores since 2011, and in June annnounced plans to close some 70 locations by the end of 2017.

John Lederer, executive chairman of Staples and its separate United States and Canadian retail businesses, will lead the company on a day-to-day basis during the transition.

“The North American Delivery business has a significant opportunity to accelerate long-term growth, and we are pleased to have Sandy join the leadership team at this important time,” Lederer stated. “Sandy has extensive experience across multiple function areas including sales, marketing, merchandising and operations. This well-rounded experience makes him an ideal leader for Staples.”

 

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