Office Depot, OfficeMax Form CEO Search Committee

Office Depot Inc. and OfficeMax Inc., which agreed to merge in February, named board members from both companies to the committee to help choose a chief executive officer for the combined entity.

Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin Brands Group Inc. and an Office Depot board member, and Jim Marino, an OfficeMax director and former CEO of Alberto-Culver Co., will co-chair the panel, the companies said in a statement today.

They will oversee a search that will include both incumbent CEOs -- Office Depot’s Neil Austrian and OfficeMax’s Ravi Saligram -- as well as external candidates. The committee plans to name the new chief by the time the transaction closes, which the companies expect this year.

Saligram and Austrian will oversee the companies’ integration and have named OfficeMax Chief Financial Officer Bruce Besanko and Office Depot CFO Mike Newman to co-chair the the process. The companies project $400 million to $600 million in annual savings by the third year after the merger is completed.

Office Depot, the second-largest U.S. office-supplies chain, agreed to buy OfficeMax in February for $1.17 billion to revive sales and compete with online retailers and larger rival Staples Inc.

Office Depot, based in Boca Raton, Florida, rose 2.1 percent to $3.91 at the close in New York, while Naperville, Illinois-based OfficeMax gained 1.9 percent to $11.57.

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