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New CEO is overhauling Staples

December 10, 2018

Credit: The Business Journals

Over the last two years, the company has been undergoing a period of transition and reinvention, enhanced by the hiring of its new CEO in April of this year.

J. Alexander Douglas (also known as Sandy Douglas) took the helm five months after Staples’ new owner, Sycamore Partners, “separated the company’s retail business from its more lucrative commercial division”, as Chief Executive explains.

Douglas has amassed a wealth of experience during his 30 years at Coca-Cola North America, where he finished his tenure as President before moving to Staples.

In June this year, two months after his appointment, Staples acquired Hi-Touch Business Services, which has now become a part of Staples Business Advantage organisation.

“The combination of HiTouch’s sales organisation and the strength of Staples will allow us to give customers an even higher level of service,” Douglas stated in the press release announcing the deal. “We will continue to look for strategic opportunities like this one where we feel we can help create better options for businesses in the marketplace.”

A few months later, Staples made the well-documented decision to purchase Essendant Inc., which “distributes janitorial and breakroom supplies, technology products, traditional office products, industrial supplies, cut sheet paper products, automotive products and office furniture to a diverse group of customers, including independent resellers, national resellers and e-commerce businesses.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to move forward with this agreement, and to work with the Essendant team to complete the partnership of these two great companies, which will ultimately deliver significant value to independent resellers and end customers across the U.S.,” the company commented at the time.

Earlier this year, Douglas explained to the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors that Staples wants to partner with more dealers, as the company’s “strategic priorities of improved service and reaching a variety of customers make partnerships with local dealers attractive.”

“We believe that the capabilities we are building at Staples — good procurement, low costs, great products, technology and services — can be used to significantly empower dealers towards a more innovative business model,” he said.

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