In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
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Mike Minigan, executive director of account services at AOL, who first worked with Butler during his Pacific Bell days and later recruited him to Redgate, praises Butler for being equally adroit in Corporate America and the small business arena. “He was able to build consensus quickly in an environment that is highly bureaucratic,” recalls Minigan. “Keith has the unique ability to state his personal position, but remain very much a team player.”
Butler’s affinity for entrepreneurs was one reason attracting him to Office Depot Online. “We’re a start-up organization within a Fortune 500 company,” Butler points out.
A big advangtage of start-ups is “seeing the results of your work-that means a lot to people,” Butler says. This benefit becomes exponential in the online world where results are almost immediate. “On the Internet you have the ability to learn quickly and apply those lessons to move forward,” he philosophizes. “The opportunity for failure is high, but the cost of failure is low-at least, if you don’t keep making the same mistakes.”
Butler hasn’t really strayed as far from academia as he thought-he’s just swapped classrooms.
May 1999-present: Vice president, Office Depot Online, a subsidiary of Office Depot Inc.
December 1997-May 1999: Executive director of marketing and merchandising at Office Depot Online.
1996-1997: Vice president of business development and online sales at PreviewTravel.com
1992-1996: Vice president of business development at Redgate Communications, which was purchased by America Online in 1995.
1991-1992: Manager of marketing and public relations at Advanced Computer Communications Inc.
1982-1991: Held a variety of marketing and sales positions at Pacific Bell.
- Education Graduate studies at the University of California’s School of International Relations in Santa Barbara and San Francisco State University’s School of Business Administration. B.A. in political science from California State University, Chico, Ca., 1976.