Staples Inc. announced the permanent hire of Shira Goodman as CEO, effective immediately.
Goodman, who previously served as chief of the office supplies retailer's North American operations, was named interim CEO in May after Ron Sargent stepped down. Sargent, who had been with the company for 27 years, is continuing on at Staples through January 2017 as a director and non-executive chairman.
Goodman’s extensive experience within the company and her leadership during her interim tenure led to her permanent appointment “after a comprehensive search process that included the evaluation of several qualified candidates,” Staples said.
In the wake of a failed $6.3 billion merger attempt with rival Office Depot that was stymied earlier this year when a U.S. District Court Judge granted the Federal Trade Commission's request for an injunction on antitrust concerns, Staples is scrambling to determine a path forward. The retailer has said it will work to dominate in core office supply categories like ink, toner and paper, and possibly divest its European operations while exploring other acquisitions. (Office Depot made its own divestment of its European assets official late last week, with a sale to investment firm Aurelius.)
Staples, in its own assessment of what comes next, will endeavor to offer a more diverse assortment of products and services, its director of corporate communications Mark Cautela told Retail Dive in a recent email.
"We will continue to build on our assortment of products beyond office supplies," Cautela said. "We’ll also look to build on our omnichannel capabilities, like buy online pick-up in store and shipping from store... and investing in sharper pricing and enhanced supply-chain capabilities.”
Goodman offered her own perspective on Staples' new approach in a conference call with analysts last month. “[W]e’re in the early innings of a dynamic and pronounced strategic repositioning. We're moving from a product focus to a customer focus. We're moving from a retail culture to a delivery culture,” she said. “We're evolving from a high/low pricing strategy to more everyday value. We're transitioning from a products company to a products and services company.”
Goodman also said at that time that Staples would look to acquire other companies to drive growth, even as it moves to focus on its operations in North America.
Goodman has her work cut out for her. Staples last month reported its 14th consecutive quarterly sales decline: Second quarter sales fell 3.7% to $4.75 billion, missing expectations of $4.77 billion. North American same-store sales dropped 5%. In addition, Staples said sales will likely dip again in the third quarter, but did not provide guidance.