The CEO Selection Committee of Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) and OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX) said that the process of searching for the executive who will lead the combined company has been limited to the top five executives out of more than 100 candidates.

Office Depot

According to the CEO Selection Committee, the five candidates are exceptional and any one of them has the ability to lead the business forward after the merger. Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) and OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX) expect to hire a new CEO for the combined company by September.

Office Max and Office Depot narrow the search to five candidates

In June, the combined company engaged the services of Korn/Ferry International, an executive search firm, to help the CEO selection committee carry out a comprehensive search. Jim Marino, board member of OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX), and Nigel Travis, board member of Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP), served as co-chairs of the committee.

The combined company said that all the members of the CEO selection committee are actively reviewing the list of candidates, including those recommended by Starboard Value LP, one of the shareholders of Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP). The activist hedge fund previously stated that it would launch a proxy war to place its candidates to the board of Office Depot.

In a statement, Travis said that their main objective is to appoint a new CEO next month prior to the completion of the merger to address other significant issues such as the location of the headquarters, company name, culture and strategy.

“As such, it is critical that the CEO Selection Committee maintain its momentum in the search process. We are very concerned that the disruptive proxy campaign currently being led by Starboard to replace four Office Depot Board members, including two that currently sit on the CEO Selection Committee, if successful, will prove counterproductive to the CEO selection process,” said Travis.

Office Depot shareholders looking for value from merger

In addition, Travis emphasized that shareholders of Office Depot Inc (NYSE:ODP) do not want to disrupt the CEO search process, or to affect the attainable value from its merger with OfficeMax Inc (NYSE:OMX).

On the other hand, Marino said, “The goal of the Committee remains to identify a proven leader with the strategic insight, operational discipline and inspirational leadership required to deliver the synergies that come from combining the companies and to transform the business in this highly competitive market.”