Depot gains in wake of Nelson departure


4 October 2004 – Delray Beach (FL): Office Depot’s share price has reacted positively to this morning’s shock announcement that chairman/CEO Bruce Nelson has resigned by "mutual agreement".

In early trading on Wall Street this morning, the company’s shares had risen 1.72 per cent, gaining $0.26.

It would appear that Nelson has ultimately paid the price for last month’s disappointing profit warning, made all the more unpalatable coming at a time that rival Staples posted another record-breaking set of results.

Speaking at a conference call this morning, interim chairman/CEO Neil Austrian said he was "absolutely committed to making the company a more profitable business" and that today’s announcement marked "an important turning point" in Depot’s fortunes.

He paid tribute to Nelson’s efforts over the past four years but said he believed that now was the "right time to seek a new leader". He pledged "better and more rapid execution" moving forward and added: "We hope the change in leadership will jump start growth and bring new creative ways to make Office Depot a formidable competitor."

Austrian said that the company hopes to have a successor to Nelson in place by early 2005.