October 25, 2010, 10:54 AM

Office Depot’s CEO and chairman will step down

Board member Neil Austrian will take over temporarily for Steve Odland.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Steve Odland

Office Depot Inc. said today that Steve Odland has resigned as the chairman and CEO of the office supply retailer, effective Nov. 1. Neil Austrian, lead director, will take over as interim chairman and CEO while the company’s board of directors seeks a replacement.

Office Depot, No. 5 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, gave no reason for the departure.  Last week Office Depot said it would pay $1 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that retailer improperly disclosed earnings estimates. Odland and former chief financial officer Patricia McKay each will pay $50,000 to settle the case without admitting guilt.

Odland will consult for the company until Dec. 31, Office Depot says.

“During his tenure, the company grew and achieved record revenues and profits, and we have seen some improvements on margins coming out of the depths of the recession,” says Austrian. “Now that the recession is behind us and margins are improving, we believe that this is an appropriate time to seek new leadership.”

Austrian has been a director for Office Depot since 1998. He previously served as interim chair and CEO between Oct. 4, 2004 and March 11, 2005. He worked as president and chief operating officer of the National Football League between April 1991 and December 1999.

Also today, Office Depot said it would report on Wednesday that third quarter revenue reached $2.9 billion, down 4% from the same period last year. The retailer, however, said that it would report a profit per share of 18 cents, compared to a loss of $1.51 per share for the same period last year.

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