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OfficeMax Hires New Merchandising Head From Bygone Competitor

OfficeMax Inc. (OMX) said Thursday it hired a new merchandising chief who previously led merchandising at another office-supplies company, one that was key to the growth of OfficeMax's biggest competitor.Ronald Lalla, who will become OfficeMax's executive vice president and chief merchandising officer Monday, previously worked for Corporate Express, which Staples Inc. (SPLS) bought in 2008.Valued at $4.8 billion, the Corporate Express deal was Staples's largest takeover. It boosted the company's sales by about 40% and catapulted Staples to lead the market handling supplies orders for big businesses. Staples now has $25.02 billion in annual sales versus OfficeMax's $7.1 billion.OfficeMax is bringing Lalla back to the office-supplies retailing sector after he most recently worked at closely held Katz Group, a big pharmacy operator in Canada. There, he served as chief merchandising officer and chief technology officer. Lalla also held several leadership positions in merchandising, store o...

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