Once the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax was completed in November, the two top questions were; (1) who would serve as the CEO of the new entity and (2) where would the new entity be headquartered?
The new CEO is Roland Smith. Mr. Smith is a former CEO of Wendy’s Company, the fast food restaurant chain, and most recently the CEO and President of Delhaize American LLC, the U.S. division of Delhaize Group, the Belgian food retailer that operates the Food Lion grocery chain in the United States.
Mr. Smith is an Army veteran and graduate of the United States Military Academy at Westpoint.
Office Depot has announced its’ decision to keep the corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida instead of moving to Naperville, Illinois, the former corporate headquarters of OfficeMax.
Mr. Smith said of the decision, “Both Florida and Illinois have many positive attributes, but our analysis concluded that Boca Raton provides the best platform for us to achieve planned synergies, leverage assets to drive improved profitability, and launch a compelling vision for the future. We will quickly move forward to build a world class leadership team and organization focused on exceeding the expectations of consumers and businesses, becoming a more appealing partner to our vendors, and driving value for our shareholders. To do that, we will select the best talent available from both locations.”
The company indicated operating cost, lease obligations, tax implications, government incentives and the ability to manage and grow personnel, factored into the decision.
Kelly Smallridge, CEO and President of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, indicated while it was clear Boca Raton had tax advantages (significantly lower business taxes and no personal income tax), much of her time was spent demonstrating the quality of the skilled workforce and education system in South Florida.
Ms. Smallridge said, “It opens up the doors for so many other corporate headquarters to consider Palm Beach County as a possible site. This is a great day for selling the story about how Palm Beach County and Florida have a tremendous advantage for locating corporate headquarters here.”
In addition to the jobs and economic impact of keeping Office Depot headquartered in Boca Raton, South Florida retains the benefit of the Office Depot Foundation which has helped the community through donations, volunteerism and mentoring; specifically through its Feed The Children program, over the past 8 years.
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