Struggling retailer Office Depot Inc. said Monday that Roland Smith will retire from his post as chief executive of the company.
Smith was in charge when Office Depot announced a merger with larger rival Staples, a deal that ultimately was blocked by federal regulators. If the marriage had been approved, Smith would have received $46.8 million in golden parachute payments.
Smith, 61, will remain CEO until the company names his successor, a decision Office Depot said it will make by the end of first quarter of 2017. Smith will remain chairman of the Fortune 500 company.
Give Smith points for an atypical Plan B: He’s going to climb Mount Everest. Smith said he was training for the trek in 2013 but put the summit on hold to take over Office Depot.
“Now is the time for me to refocus on those personal ambitions while I am still physically able,” Smith said in a conference call Monday morning.
Smith joined Office Depot in November 2013. His resume includes stints as president and CEO of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, American Golf Corp. and AMF Bowling Worldwide.
Office Depot responded to the failure of the Staples merger by continuing to close stores, although it also is experimenting with a sleek “store of the future.”
“My decision to retire has not been an easy one,” Smith said in a statement. “In 2013, I set aside a number of personal ambitions to accept a three-year contract with Office Depot, and it’s now time for me to refocus on those priorities. I am extraordinarily proud of what the Office Depot team has accomplished these past three years, and I am confident that we will successfully execute our new strategy and grow shareholder value.”