Delray Beach, Fla. — Bruce Nelson has resigned as chairman/CEO of Office Depot after four years in that post.
According to a statement issued by the company, Nelson left “by mutual agreement” with the board of directors, and was succeeded on an interim basis by board member Neil Austrian, a former president/chief operating officer of the National Football League.
The tenor of a conference call, however, in which Austrian blamed the chain's poor financial performance on a lack of execution, focus and accountability, suggested that Nelson was ousted. The company, which faces a contentious market share struggle with rivals OfficeMax and Staples as all three expand from their regional bases, recently lowered its third- quarter earnings outlook due in part to soft European sales and the impact of this season's hurricanes.
Despite the interim title, Austrian promised that he will be “actively involved” in managing the office supply chain until a permanent replacement is found.
In a statement, Nelson said he is “proud of what I have accomplished over the past four years at Office Depot and believe that we have established a stronger platform from which the company can pursue growth and continue to do more to meet the needs of customers. I firmly believe that the company's best years are ahead.”