Staples chairman Ron Sargent will relinquish his CEO post following the company’s shareholders meeting on June 14, when he will be succeeded on an interim basis by North American operations president Shira Goodman.
The move, described as mutually agreed upon by Sargent and Staples’ board of directors, follows the chain’s failure to close its planned $6.3 billion acquisition of No. 2 rival Office Depot.
That deal was derailed last month after a U.S. district court judge granted the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) request for a preliminary injunction to block the sale.
“With the termination of the merger, we mutually agreed that now is the right time to transition to new management to lead Staples through its next phase of growth,” the board said in a statement, citing Goodman’s “fresh perspective.”
Sargent will stay on through Jan. 28, 2017, as a director and non-executive chairman. His interim successor is a 23-year veteran of the company who variously ran Staples’ supply chain, customer service and B-to-B operations in North America. In her current role she’s responsible for commercial, retail and online operations in the U.S. and Canada.
The board, working with an executive search firm, said it will consider internal and external candidates for the permanent CEO spot.
In the meantime, Goodman said she plans to drive sales by “intensifying our focus on our best growth opportunities with mid-market business customers in North America and in key categories beyond office supplies.”
Sargent himself is a 27-year Staples veteran who launched the company’s delivery service and is credited with building its commercial contract business, which the board described as “central to Staples’ go-forward strategy.”
Before joining the chain as a regional VP in 1989, he spent his career at Kroger, where he rose from the mailroom and stocking shelves to hold senior posts in store operations, human resources, strategy, and sales and marketing, and today sits on the Kroger board.