Thomas Stemberg, co-founder of Staples, died today at his home in Boston following a two year battle with cancer. He was 66 years old.
Stemberg founded the office supply retailer with Leo Kahn, with financial backing from Bain Capital. The success of Staples was featured prominently in Bain co-founder Mitt Romney's bid for the White House in 2012.
Romney also credited Stemberg as the impetus behind health care reform in Massachusetts when he was governor. "Without Tom pushing it, I don't think we would have had Romneycare," Romney said, according to The Boston Globe. "Without Romneycare, I don't think we would have Obamacare. So without Tom, a lot of people wouldn't have health insurance."
Staples opened its first location in 1986 and now operates more than 1,600 stores in North America.
"Tom was a great friend, mentor and colleague to many of us, and he will be greatly missed. Tom was a visionary who invented the office products superstore and turned it into a global industry," Ron Sargent, Staples chairman and CEO, told Fortune. "He had great energy, determination, and an incredible passion for our business. His entrepreneurial spirit and legacy will live on through the many people he inspired and the company he created."
Stemberg had most recently been the managing general partner of Highland Capital Partners and served on the board of directors for City Sports, Guitar Center, Lululemon and CarMax.
-See article in The Boston Globe
-See this Fortune article
Staples purchase of Office Depot not easy, EU investigates
Office Depot closes $1.2B merger with OfficeMax
Staples, Office Depot, one investor away from a merger?
Staples expands omnichannel capabilities
Office Depot, OfficeMax merger puts pressure on Staples