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updated: 12/10/2013 5:54 PM

Office Depot will leave Naperville OfficeMax HQ

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  • The OfficeMax headquarters in Naperville.

      The OfficeMax headquarters in Naperville.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

Office Depot Inc. announced today the newly formed company will put its headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., not at the existing OfficeMax offices in Naperville.

That puts roughly 1,600 workers in the Naperville headquarters at a fork in the road, potentially facing a move to the new headquarters or a severance package.

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Company spokeswoman Karen Denning said a timeline for the move isn't yet available, so the number of affected employees isn't yet available.

"Office Depot, Inc. will maintain a presence in Naperville throughout the headquarters' transition and accompanying integration activities." Denning said.

She said that today's announcement does not affect OfficeMax retail stores, customer service centers, warehouses or distribution centers.

"They are not affected by the choice of headquarters location and will continue to operate on a business-as-usual basis," Denning said.

OfficeMax and Office Depot merged earlier this year, and both the DuPage County and Florida sites were contenders to host the new company's global headquarters.

"Selecting the headquarters location is a critical step toward integrating our two companies," Roland Smith, chairman and CEO of Office Depot, Inc., said in a statement. "Both Florida and Illinois have many positive attributes, but our analysis concluded that Boca Raton provides the best platform for us to achieve planned synergies, leverage assets to drive improved profitability, and launch a compelling vision for the future."

The company's decision to move out of Illinois means Naperville is losing its sixth-largest employer, said Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger.

"Obviously, it's a disappointment to Naperville," Krieger said about the company's decision to leave. "Office Max has been a great corporate and community partner and has done a lot for the community from their annual teacher awards to active involvement in the chamber. We will certainly miss them."

In the past few months, state lawmakers have considered offering Office Depot a 15-year, $53 million package of tax incentives to try to boost Naperville's chances. It would have required the company to keep more than 2,000 workers in the area and make building investments.

But lawmakers left the Capitol Tuesday after approving controversial public worker pension cuts without sending the tax incentives proposal to Gov. Pat Quinn. The Illinois Senate approved the deal proposed by state Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, but the House didn't act.

"I did everything I could to bring these jobs to our state, Illinois needs a better approach to business retention," Cullerton said in a statement. "Even with this setback, we need to stay proactive and competitive."

Former OfficeMax CEO Ravi Saligram told lawmakers last month he didn't want to start a "bidding war" and a benefits package would be only one factor in the company's headquarters decision, along with transportation options in each location and how each choice would affect existing employees.

"We just want both states to put their best foot forward," he said then.

Local leaders turned their eyes to state lawmakers as well for not offering tax incentives.

"It is disappointing that our elected officials failed to realize the economic reality of their inactions," Christine Jeffries, president of the Naperville Development Partnership. "The impact of the departure of these employees in our region is going to be difficult to replace."

• Daily Herald business writer Anna Marie Kukec and staff writer Marie Wilson contributed to this report.

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