Staples Picks New CEO From Coca-Cola Ranks -- WSJ

By Drew FitzGerald Features Dow Jones Newswires

Incoming executive was once considered potential candidate to lead beverage maker

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This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (January 27, 2018).

Staples Inc. replaced Chief Executive Shira Goodman with a top Coca-Cola Co. executive, switching leaders after the office supplier was taken private in a leveraged buyout.

The company said Friday that Alexander "Sandy" Douglas, most recently the president of Coca-Cola North America, will take over the big-box retailer April 2. Mr. Douglas, 56 years old, announced he was retiring from Coca-Cola in October after nearly 30 years at the soda giant.

Private-equity firm Sycamore Partners bought Staples in September for about $6.9 billion, after more than a decade of declines for the retailer's shares. Sycamore later split the company into three divisions focusing on U.S. retail, Canadian retail and a delivery business that serves big corporate and government customers.

Ms. Goodman, 57, who started working at Staples in 1992, took over as chief executive at the Framingham, Mass., company in 2016. She took the top job after her predecessor, Ron Sargent, resigned after failing to achieve a merger with rival Office Depot Inc. U.S. antitrust officials challenged the combination in court, forcing the companies to drop the effort.

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John Lederer, executive chairman of Staples' delivery business, said in a letter to employees that Friday would be Ms. Goodman's last day. "I know I speak for all our associates in acknowledging and thanking Shira for her years of dedicated leadership and wishing her the best in all future endeavors," he said.

Delivering printer paper, janitorial supplies and other workplace basics remains a relatively profitable business for the company, but its big-box stores have suffered years of slumping sales amid competition from Amazon.com Inc. and other discount retailers.

Mr. Douglas, who began his career at Procter & Gamble Co. in 1984, joined Coca-Cola in 1988 and rose through the ranks. He was considered a potential candidate for CEO of the company. In 2017, Coca-Cola elevated its Europe head, James Quincey, into the top job.

Write to Drew FitzGerald at andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 27, 2018 07:08 ET (12:08 GMT)