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Office Depot names Steve Odland as chairman and chief executive officer

Steve Odland is a 1980 graduate of the University of Notre Dame

Publication: Business Wire, Inc.

March 14, 2005


Former Chairman, President and CEO of AutoZone Brings Significant Retail Expertise and Strong Track Record of Improving Operating Performance

Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE: ODP), a global leader in the sale of office products, announced today that Steve Odland has been named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Odland, 46, joins Office Depot from AutoZone (NYSE: AZO), the nation's leading auto parts retailer, where he had served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer since January 2001.

"Steve's track record in delivering strong operating performance and excellent financial results in challenging business environments makes him the ideal person to lead our company to the next level," said Neil R. Austrian, an Office Depot Board member who has served as Interim Chairman and CEO since October 2004. "With his background in marketing and merchandising, his demonstrated focus on building loyalty through customer service and satisfaction, and an unparalleled record in the creation of shareholder value, we could not have found a better fit for our Company. We are delighted that Steve has agreed to join us."

"Office Depot is an excellent franchise and I look forward to working with its highly dedicated team to help the Company achieve its full potential," said Odland. "My focus will be on driving profitable growth by exceeding the expectations of our customers, and building shareholder value by making Office Depot an industry leader in efficiency and productivity. It's a great opportunity and I'm ready to get started."

In connection with Odland's appointment, Office Depot has expanded the size of its Board of Directors from eleven to twelve members, and elected Odland to the Board. Neil R. Austrian will continue to serve as a member of the Board, and will resume his duties as Chair of the Company's Finance Committee.

Office Depot's executive search was conducted by Heidrick & Struggles.

Steve Odland Biography

Steve Odland, 46, is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Office Depot. Prior to joining Office Depot, he was Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President of AutoZone (NYSE: AZO), the nation's largest auto parts and accessories retailer, which he joined in 2001. In 2004, AutoZone had over $5.6B in net sales, and approximately 3,500 stores and 45,000 employees across the U.S. and Mexico . Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer of Ahold USA, Inc., a leading supermarket retailer on the eastern seaboard. Prior to that, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Tops Markets, Inc., one of Ahold's operating companies. Before joining Ahold, he served as president of the food service division of Sara Lee Corporation and spent sixteen years at The Quaker Oats Company in various senior management capacities. He is also a director of General Mills, Inc. In 2004 he was chairman of the Business Roundtable's Corporate Governance Task Force and was named top new CEO in 2002 by Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Odland holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

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