Analysis: Wight makes Depot switch

Long-time SP Richards executive set to lead Office Depot’s dealer acquisition push.

Much has been made of the big boxes snapping up independent dealers in the US. But it was a high-profile executive switch that caught people’s attention at the end of November after it was confirmed that SP Richards (SPR) SVP Bryan Wight had joined Office Depot as SVP of Business Solutions Division Sales in charge of what the reseller calls its “federation” strategy.

Wight had been with SPR for 14 years, most recently in an SVP role that saw him leading the wholesaler’s core business and having oversight of all sales, distribution, pricing, marketing and corporate communications functions. His move took many in the industry by surprise and was described as “disappointing” in some circles, as Wight had done much to further the cause of independent dealers and was seen as a driving force behind SPR’s standalone strategy following its failed merger with Essendant in 2018.

Indeed, Wight had become the ‘face’ of SPR to many in the independent dealer channel (IDC) following his step up to the SVP role in January 2018 and his hosting of the ABC show that, since the event’s inception, had been handled by now retired Jim O’Brien.

Now Wight will be using his IDC experience to further Office Depot’s federation strategy of acquiring dealers, but then letting them operate virtually independently under the reseller’s umbrella. The company has acquired a number of dealers in this way over the past 15 months, including Complete Office Solutions, Garvey’s and, most recently, COS Business Products & Interiors.

Office Depot declined to comment on Wight’s appointment, including on whether it signalled an acceleration of its dealer acquisition strategy.