How Office Depot’s PR Spin Machine Spun a PR Disaster
Proficiency Post - breaking news and opinion in the office productivity market
Last Updated on Saturday, 26 March 2011 18:19 Written by Peter Frost Saturday, 26 March 2011 17:21
ODGate - Special Report
Palm Beach Post steadfast in
face of legal intimidation
Proficiency Post first broke the story that Office Depot’s legal and communications department pressured the Palm Beach Post to withdraw an editorial critical of the company published on March 18th and withdrawn on March 19th.
The editorial was titled: ‘Reward for failure: $11 million: Office Depot must recover from damage Odland caused’. It was very critical of departed CEO Steve Odland (pic right) and the obscene severance package of $11 million he received from Office Depot. The article mostly touched on ethical questions concerning Odland’s integrity and the SEC investigation of him and the company.
Office Depot’s VP of Communications, Brian Levine and its legal staff attacked the editorial causing the Palm Beach Post to withdraw it and restudy the facts. And boy did they restudy the facts!
On March 22nd the Palm Beach Post published a new scathing rebuke of Office Depot, Steve Odland and ethical questions surrounding the company. The new editorial was titled: ‘Under Steve Odland, Office Depot's stock price went down, investigations went up’.
The new editorial added questions surrounding Office Depot’s government contracts and the multiple federal and state investigations into fraudulent ‘bait and switch’ and systematic overcharging allegations.
Specifically, the Palm Beach Post Editorial questioned what if anything Steve Odland had done to correct the matter. VP for Communications Brian Levine was unable to provide a time line to the Palm Beach Post detailing what actions Odland took and when, if any.
Office Depot’s PR machine spun a disaster in a “ham handed” attempt to intimidate or otherwise influence the Palm Beach Post. Instead of leaving well enough alone and letting the first editorial run without trying to have it withdrawn, Office Depot ended up attracting more attention to the article nationally with the new editorial being a scornful indictment of Odland and Office Depot.
Proficiency Post applauds the steadfastness of the Palm Beach Post editorial staff. Score one for journalistic integrity!
The entire new editorial is below:
Under Steve Odland, Office Depot's stock price
went down, investigations went up
By The Palm Beach Post
Office Depot is behaving like the "Gang who could not shoot straight"
What is with their refusal to fire Schmidt and all those around him at BSD?
That is what it will take to get this stock moving again.
Why do all the posters on this board act as though it's a mystery why the BOD hasn't canned Schmidt or hired a new CEO or done anything, for that matter, to improve the company????
The BOD and officers are collecting hefty paychecks for doing nothing. As soon as a new CEO comes on board, the gig's up and new BOD members and officers will be hired.
While the officers will collect golden parachutes, they're continuing to earn salaries and benefits until then.
Well Office Depot is down again today. Even after this last PR disaster, and the continued problems with Schmidt and BSD-Office Depot takes no action.no firing of Schmidt no dismantling and rebuilding of BSD-the problems continue and thus the stock stays stuck in the mud.
Advice from 2008.
What would things be like had Depot taken adice?
Read article in link below.
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The Cost of Broken Trust
by Mark Slatin on Thursday, December 4, 2008
by Mark Slatin
What happens when an insatiable drive for profits permeates the culture of an organization?
Eventually you forget whose business you should be taking care of.
Consider Office Depot’s current woes. The number two office products "mega dealer" ascended to their position in large part due to their strategic focus on the education and government markets. Now they have lost favor with those same markets amid questions surrounding "pricing and other irregularities."
Clink link for rest of article
I wonder if it is going to take someone at Office Depot going to prison before the board of directors wakes up.
I agree Schmidt should have been fired years ago.
All these investigations and Depot can't find the people within the company to blame and fire?
Will Depot ever firgure out that Schmidt and his band of thieves at BSD are 100% of Office Depot's problems?
Is there nothing Office Depot cannot screw up?
Why did they not hire this consulting firm?
Office Depot should fire their VP of PR/Communications Brain Levine along with BSD President Steve Schmidt!
Come on Office Depot-start holding your executives accountable and start firing people-get your act together.
Until Depot holds executives accountable we will never see our share prices going up to where it belongs.
How hard is it to fire some of these no good executives and get into BSD and get rid of anyone tied to any of the investigations.
Are the board of directors completely clueless?
Interesting advice. Interesting article.
Money well spent would be Office Depot hiring True Colors Consulting. This article was profound and in 2008 gave Depot a road map to get out of trouble...Depot should have listened...instead, Depot dug a deeper hole and now the mess is ten fold worse then it was in 2008.
If Schmidt had been fired on 2008 and BSD cleaned out, bad apples found and fired, Depot would be in much better shape today...and the stock price would be much higher.
Office Depot needs to wake up and smell the coffee, BSD and Schmidt are dragging the company into oblivion-fire the guy right now!