Former Delhaize America CEO Takes Reins at Office Depot

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Former Delhaize America CEO Takes Reins at Office Depot


Office Depot Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla.-based office products, services and solutions provider formed by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, has appointed Roland C. Smith its chairman and CEO. Smith was most recently CEO and president of Salisbury, N.C.-based Delhaize America LLC.

While at Delhaize America, the U.S. division of Brussels-based retail conglomerate Delhaize Group, Smith oversaw the integration of the company’s major supermarket chains, including successful dispositions of three of them. Earlier, he was president and CEO of The Wendy’s Co.; president and CEO of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc.; and CEO of Wendy’s International Inc. During his time at these companies, Smith introduced many transformative initiatives, including brand rejuvenation, acquisitions and the merger of Wendy’s by Arby’s, as well as improving operations and accelerating international expansion.

Smith additionally led operational turnarounds at American Golf Corp., the world’s largest owner and operator of golf courses, and AMF, the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers. He has also held senior management positions at KFC International, Pepsi Cola International, Schering-Plough and Procter & Gamble.

“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,” said Smith.

“Over the last several months, the selection committee evaluated more than 100 candidates in a rigorous process to find the right leader for this company,” noted Office Depot Lead Director Nigel Travis, co-chair of the CEO selection committee and chairman and CEO of Dunkin’ Brands. “Roland is uniquely qualified for the newly combined Office Depot and OfficeMax. He has decades of experience integrating companies and cultures and an impressive track record in turning around businesses. Additionally, he brings outstanding leadership that will be invaluable as we seek to transform and grow our new company.”

Added Office Depot Board Member Jim Marino, co-chair of the CEO selection committee and former president and CEO of Alberto Culver Co., “Roland is 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.”

Smith replaces former co-CEOs Neil Austrian and Ravi Saligram, who have resigned from the company and its board.