ATLANTA, March 18 Retailer Office Depot Inc
ODP.N on Tuesday urged shareholders to reject one
shareowner's bid to nominate two directors in an attempt to
remove its current and former chief executives from the board.
The shareholder, Woodbridge Group, had said on Monday it
intended to nominate former presidents of Office Depot and
rival Staples Inc (SPLS.O) to the Office Depot board to serve
in place of two company candidates, current CEO Steve Odland
and former CEO David Fuente.
Woodbridge Group, which includes real estate developer
Levitt Corp LEV.N, said Office Depot "needs new
representation" to revitalize the retailer, which it added had
lost vision and its competitive standing.
But Office Depot said in its statement on Tuesday that
removing Odland and Fuente from the board in favor of
Woodbridge's "dissident" nominees "would be highly disruptive,
and could destabilize the company and damage prospects for a
The tension leading up to the April 23 annual meeting comes
as Office Depot's financial results have suffered. Its stock
price has fallen 69 percent in the past year.
The retailer reported a bigger-than-expected drop in fourth
quarter profit last month as slowing job growth, the crumbling
U.S. housing market and credit market jitters led small
business customers to curb spending.
Also in February, a regulatory filing disclosed that the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating
Office Depot for allegedly making a series of phone calls to
analysts last June, warning them that weak economic conditions
were hurting sales. Office Depot also announced last month that
its chief financial officer resigned.
Woodbridge Group said it would nominate ex-Office Depot
President Mark Begelman and former Staples president, Martin
Hanaka, for the Office Depot board, adding that the two were
committed to "taking immediate and aggressive action to turn
around Office Depot's business and redefine its position in the
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)