Office Depot Parent ODP CEO Gerry Smith Returns To Duty After Medical Leave

Smith in September stepped away from his CEO role due to an unspecified medical procedure, leaving the company’s non-executive chairman, Joseph Vassalluzzo to handle issues including a major investor’s “suggestion” that ODP spin out its Office Depot business.

ODP, the parent company of Office Depot, Monday said CEO Gerry Smith will return to his duties starting Feb. 1 after nearly five months of temporary medical leave.

Joseph Vassalluzzo, who had been appointed to assume Smith’s duties during his leave, will step down and return to his role as independent non-executive chairman of the board.

Smith in mid-September stepped away from his role as CEO to take medical leave for an unspecified medical procedure. ODP at the time said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Smith “began a temporary medical leave of absence to undergo a medical procedure that requires several weeks of recovery.”

[Related: Office Depot Ends Planned B2B, Consumer Split]

ODP did not respond to a CRN request for further information by press time.

ODP in an SEC filing dated Monday, wrote, “Effective February 1, 2024, Mr. Smith will return from his medical leave and resume his duties and responsibilities as CEO of the Company.”

Smith, in a prepared statement, said, “I would like to thank everyone for the support they showed during my leave, and especially to Joe [Vassalluzzo] for stepping in and leading the Company during my absence. I am very excited about returning to the helm, and eager to continue driving our corporate transformation and maximizing value for our stakeholders.”

During Smith’s absence, ODP reported third fiscal quarter revenue of $2.01 billion, down 8 percent compared to the $2.17 billion the company reported for third fiscal quarter 2022.

ODP in December also thanked one of its investors, investment firm AREX Capital Management, for its suggestion that ODP make some major structural changes including spinning out its Office Depot business. No action was taken on that suggestion.

ODP, which previously rejected acquisition and break-up proposals, in November 2022 re-organized into four new business units, including:

ODP in its latest filing also wrote that David Szymanski, a member of the company’s board of directors, plans to retire from the board effective Feb. 13. ODP said the resignation did not result from any disagreements or concerns about operations, policies, or practices.

Vassalluzzo, in a prepared statement, said, “On behalf of the Board and the Company, I would like to thank David for his long, dedicated service to ODP. He has been a valued member of the Board with his extensive retail experience, and as he retires from the Board, we wish him well in his future pursuits.”