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Staples' Sargent Succeeds Stemberg As CEO

9/05/2001 03:26:00 PM Eastern

Framingham, Mass. - Staples' president and chief operating officer Ronald Sargent will succeed Thomas Stemberg as CEO in February 2002.

In turn, Stemberg, who founded the No. 1 office supply chain in 1985, will be elevated to executive chairman.

Sargent, a 13-year veteran at Staples, will be responsible for its day-to-day operation, the company said, which will allow Stemberg to focus on new growth initiatives and long-range planning.

Staples, like its chief rivals Office Depot and OfficeMax, has come under increased pressure as soft demand, compressed CE prices and a glut of stores has impacted the office supply category. Nevertheless, Stemberg said the transition has been in the offing for several years, with Sargent gradually assuming increased responsibilities.

Sargent, who according to Stemberg had considered a career in Roller Derby before opting for business, said he plans to improve existing operations rather than implement wholesale changes at the chain.