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 user 2008-03-21 at 11:38:32 am Views: 55
  • #21486

    Office Depot urges rejection of holder nominees 

    ATLANTA, March 08 – Retailer Office Depot Inc on Tuesday urged
    shareholders to reject one shareowner’s bid to nominate two directors
    in an attempt to remove its current and former chief executives from
    the board.The shareholder, Woodbridge Group, had said on Monday it
    intended to nominate former presidents of Office Depot and rival
    Staples Inc to the Office Depot board to serve in place of two company
    candidates, current CEO Steve Odland and former CEO David Fuente.

    Woodbridge Group, which includes real estate developer Levitt Corp ,
    said Office Depot “needs new representation” to revitalize the
    retailer, which it added had lost vision and its competitive
    standing.But Office Depot said in its statement on Tuesday that
    removing Odland and Fuente from the board in favor of Woodbridge’s
    “dissident” nominees “would be highly disruptive, and could destabilize
    the company and damage prospects for a successful turnaround.”The
    tension leading up to the April 23 annual meeting comes as Office
    Depot’s financial results have suffered. Its stock price has fallen 69
    percent in the past year.

    The retailer reported a bigger-than-expected drop in fourth quarter
    profit last month as slowing job growth, the crumbling U.S. housing
    market and credit market jitters led small business customers to curb
    spending.Also in February, a regulatory filing disclosed that the U.S.
    Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Office Depot for
    allegedly making a series of phone calls to analysts last June, warning
    them that weak economic conditions were hurting sales. Office Depot
    also announced last month that its chief financial officer
    resigned.Woodbridge Group said it would nominate ex-Office Depot
    President Mark Begelman and former Staples president, Martin Hanaka,
    for the Office Depot board, adding that the two were committed to
    “taking immediate and aggressive action to turn around Office Depot’s
    business and redefine its position in the marketplace.”