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Office Depot Taps Fast Food Vet For CEO Slot

Boca Raton, Fla. – Office Depot has named former Wendy’s and Arby’s CEO Roland Smith to head the newly merged office supply chain as chairman/CEO. 11/13/2013 09:46:00 AM Eastern

Boca Raton, Fla. Office Depot has named former Wendy’s and Arby’s CEO Roland Smith to head the newly merged office supply chain as chairman/CEO.

The appointment comes one week after Office Depot and OfficeMax formally merged, and resulted in the resignations of the chains’ respective former CEOs Neil Austrian and Ravi Saligram.

Smith, who was picked from a field of over 100 candidates, most recently served as president/CEO of Delhaize America, the $18 billion parent of the Food Lion, Sweetbay and Hannaford supermarket chains, where he consolidated and integrated the company’s brands and operations.

Before that, as as president/CEO of Arby’s,  Wendy’s/Arby’s Group and The Wendy’s Co., he helped turn around Arby’s, completed its acquisition and integration of Wendy’s, and later orchestrated the sale of Arby’s. He also led operational turnarounds at bowling center operator AMF and golf course owner/operator American Golf Corp. where he held the same title.

Office Depot board member and CEO selection committee co-chair Jim Marino, himself a former president/CEO of Alberto Culver, described Smith as “a proven leader with the strategic insight and operational discipline necessary to drive our business forward and deliver the synergies that come from combining these two great companies.”

“I am honored to accept the position of chairman and CEO of Office Depot,” Smith said in a statement. “With the combined resources of Office Depot and OfficeMax, we have the ability to transform the company and create an exciting new organization that exceeds the needs and desires of our customers, provides new opportunities for our global associates, becomes a more appealing partner to our vendors, and increases value for our shareholders.

“Moving forward,” he continued, “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.”

 He added that choosing a final headquarters location for the merged chains is also a top priority.

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