Stemberg leaves chairman role

Tom Stemberg has resigned as non-executive chairman of Staples, marking the end of an era for the industry.

Stemberg was not only the founder of Staples, but he is credited with pioneering the whole office superstore concept.

The company announced that Ron Sargent is to assume the chairman’s responsibilities in addition to his current role of president/CEO.

Stemberg, who now has the honorary title of chairman emeritus, joined Highland Capital Partners one month previous, saying he always liked working with smaller companies.

Commenting on the changes, Stemberg said: "Under Ron’s leadership the company has delivered outstanding results for our customers, associates and shareholders. As I look to new ventures, the time is right for me to move on and for Ron to assume the role of chairman."

And Sargent paid tribute to Stemberg, adding: "Tom is an industry icon who had the extraordinary vision to found Staples in 1986 and create the office products retailing industry. Tom is a great mentor to me and many people throughout the Staples organisation. We will continue to embrace his vision and his legacy as we make Staples the world’s best office products company."

On 24 February, Staples reported a record fiscal 2004, with sales increasing 11 per cent to $14.4 billion from $13 billion in 2003, and North American comp sales increasing 4 per cent. Net income was at $708.4 million, or EPS of $1.43, from $490.2 million, or EPS of $1.01, in 2003 – an increase of 41 per cent on a GAAP basis.