Gerry Smith, a top Lenovo executive who has quickly climbed the corporate ladder since joining the No. 1 PC maker in 2006, has been named the CEO of giant office supply retailer Office Depot.
Office Depot, which is based in Boca Raton, Fla., announced Monday that Smith, currently executive vice president and chief operating officer in charge of Lenovo’s global supply chain, will succeed current CEO Roland Smith effective Feb. 27. Roland Smith previously announced his retirement plans.
“Gerry possess significant operating expertise, having successfully led business units across Lenovo’s entire product portfolio, including an industry recognized supply chain organization,” Warren Bryant, lead director of the retailer’s board of directors, said in a prepared statement. “His long-standing relationships with some of Office Depot’s largest suppliers will enable him to quickly transition into the role.”
“Additionally, we are impressed with Gerry’s demonstrated ability to lead large, complex organizations,” Bryant added.
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Smith joined Lenovo nearly 11 years ago. His past roles at Lenovo, which is based in China and has a headquarters in Morrisville, include chief operating officer of the combined PC and enterprise business group and president of the North American and the Americas operations. In 2012 he was promoted twice in a little more than a month.
“Gerry has been part of a leadership team that has been instrumental in our growth and success over the last few years – from his leadership roles heading up our supply chain to integrating our data center business” following the acquisition of IBM’s x86 line of servers, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said in a prepared statement. “I wish Gerry well in his new endeavor leading Office Depot.”
At Lenovo, Smith most recently was based in California.
Lenovo recruited Smith from computer maker Dell, where among other roles he was vice president and general manager of displays.
In a 2012 interview, Smith said that many of his former colleagues at Dell laughed at him when he told them he was leaving to join Lenovo, which at the time was a much smaller company than Dell. But Smith was part of the executive team that enabled Lenovo to vault past Dell to become the world’s largest producer of PCs, in addition to diversifying into smartphones and other electronic devices.
Smith said in a prepared statement: “Roland and his team have implemented a compelling three-year strategy and clearly put the company on a positive trajectory. I look forward to continuing the company’s momentum.”
Publicly traded Office Depot had annual sales of about $14 billion in 2015 and has 1,800 retail stores and 49,000 employees worldwide.