Office Depot names new marketing chief
Office Depot on Thursday announced it has named Jerri DeVard executive vice president and chief marketing officer. DeVard will report directly to CEO Gerry Smith, according to a company press release.
DeVard has more than 30 years of extensive marketing and leadership experience at large global brands, most recently as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for security company The ADT Corporation. She’s also had various marketing leadership roles at Nokia, Verizon and Citigroup, and currently serves on the board of directors for Under Armour, Inc. and Cars.com.
DeVard will lead the retailer’s brand strategy and oversee the integration of all marketing and communications initiatives. She will also be responsible for driving the growth and implementation of strategic marketing activities that build brand equity and increase market share, the company said.
Following the failed merger with rival Staples, which was thwarted last spring by the Federal Trade Commission, Office Depot is focused squarely on its North America operations. Smith arrived as CEO in February and now his team is shaping up, as the retailer continues to figure out how to go it alone in the office supplies space. The office supplies retailer also announced a number of executive shakeups in May.
Both Staples and Office Depot have had to watch out for Amazon's growing effort in the space and each is contending with the other. That includes Amazon's business-to-business retail efforts, an area thought to be more protected than the retailers’ consumer retail sales, Matt Sargent, senior vice president of retail at Frank N. Magid Associates, told Retail Dive in an email earlier this year. Staples appears to be gunning for that segment in particular under new owner Sycamore Partners. Staples is looking into spinning off its retail operations including all 1,500 stores to its rival, just over a year after the two called off their proposed merger in the face of the opposition from antirust regulators.
DeVard arrives as the retailer has already begun to punch up its marketing. The company in July announced a new loyalty program with expanded benefits, based on research over the past year, including a year-long pilot in several markets, dubbed "Office Depot OfficeMax Rewards Everything." In addition to 2% of spending back in rewards, customers can earn $2 in rewards by posting online product reviews.
Earlier this summer, the retailer announced the launch of its “Taking Care of Business” brand platform, aimed at business and retail consumers alike. New television and radio spots feature a return of the company’s use of the Bachman Turner Overdrive song “Taking Care of Business,” which it also turned to in the 1990s. The brand reboot follows rival Staples' launch of a new campaign in May aimed at broadening the retailer's customer base.
"Jerri has tremendous insight and experience leading global marketing efforts for world-class consumer brands, with a proven record of delivering business results while acting as a change agent," Smith said in a statement. "We are excited to welcome Jerri to Office Depot as her leadership and fresh perspective will be instrumental in driving a more integrated omnichannel marketing approach that builds brand loyalty and positions the company for growth."
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