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 user 2010-10-27 at 7:21:53 am Views: 99
  • #24008
    Office Depot Inc. said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Odland has resigned, after disclosing last week a settlement of U.S. claims that it signaled to some analysts that earnings may miss estimates.The resignation, “by mutual agreement” with the board, is effective Nov. 1, the retailer said today in a statement, without providing further details on the reasons for his departure. The shares jumped the most in 13 months after Office Depot also said it probably had a profit last quarter.

    Office Depot, the second-largest U.S. office-supply retailer after Staples Inc., said Oct. 21 that it agreed to pay $1 million to settle the claims by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Odland, 52, agreed to pay $50,000 as part of the settlement, according to the SEC.“Odland’s tenure at the company started on a promising note, but ended frustratingly for investors,” said Colin McGranahan, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in New York who rates the stock “outperform.” “There was little love lost between Odland and investors, hence the positive reaction.”The Boca Raton, Florida-based company released preliminary third-quarter earnings results today, saying that sales probably fell 4 percent from a year earlier. Earnings were about 18 cents a share in the three months ended Sept. 25, compared with a $1.51 loss a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predicted a loss of 1 cent on average.Office Depot jumped 50 cents, or 11 percent, to $5.13 at 9:50 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, after touching $5.24 for the biggest intraday jump since September 2009. The stock, down 28 percent this year before today, was the biggest gainer on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

    Second Quarter 2010
    Office Depot’s sales have slumped to $12.1 billion in 2009 from $15.5 billion in 2007, as businesses cut back on office supplies during the recession.Odland and then-Chief Financial Officer Patricia McKay directed employees to call analysts late in the second quarter of 2007 to signal that the slowing economy would hurt earnings, the SEC said in a statement on Oct. 21.

    Messages left at Office Depot’s press office weren’t immediately returned.
    Odland will be replaced on an interim basis by Neil Austrian, who has been on the board since 1998, until a permanent replacement is found.The former CEO joined the company as chairman and chief executive officer from AutoZone Inc. in 2005. He will remain as a consultant through Dec. 31.