OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX) CFO Bruce Besanko, who was leading the office-supply chain's planning process for its merger with Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), is quitting to become CFO of Supervalu (NYSE:SVU), Reuters reported on Wednesday (July 24).
That integration planning will now be headed up by OfficeMax chief human resources officer Steve Parsons, who will work with Office Depot CFO Mike Newman. Deb O'Connor, OfficeMax's chief accounting officer, will serve as interim CFO when Besanko leaves on Aug. 6.
Besanko was hired away by his old boss, Sam Duncan, who was OfficeMax CEO until 2011 and was installed as Supervalu CEO earlier this year as part of the complicated deal in which Cerberus bought Albertsons and several other grocery chains from Supervalu and gained several board seats, plus the right to pick the CEO.
If all this sounds convoluted—yes, it is. In practice, the biggest impact will be on OfficeMax, which will lose its CFO in the middle of a merger. (Shareholders of both Office Depot and OfficeMax have approved their merger, but it's awaiting regulatory approval). Although the deal was trumpeted as a "merger of equals," there was no real doubt that Office Depot was the acquiring company and Besanko wasn't likely to be CFO of the combined company.
At Supervalu—a smaller company after selling off the Albertsons, Acme, Jewel/Osco, Shaw's and Star Market grocery chains—Besanko will replace Sherry Smith, who oversaw the Albertsons sale and was originally planning to leave Supervalu at the end of May. But with no replacement available at the time, Supervalu paid Smith a $300,000 bonus to stay for two more months.
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