Staples Inc. Brings in Michael Williams as General Counsel
The worlds largest office products company will soon have a new number one in its law department. Staples Inc. has named Michael Williams its next general counsel, vice president, and secretary, effective November 7.
Williams, who was not available for an interview at the time of the announcement, replaces Cynthia Pevehouse, who held the GC position for less than a year. According to a Staples spokesperson, Pevehouse left the company to pursue other interests.
Williams comes to Staples from Sony Electronics Inc., where as general counsel he was responsible for the divisions legal operations in the United States and Central and South America. In 2008, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association gave Williams and Sony an Employer of Choice award for workforce diversity.
Before going in-house, Williams was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Heller Ehrman, where Sony was among his Fortune 500 clients. He was a partner at Andrews Kurth in Los Angeles from 1991-98 and an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher from 1982-91, also in Los Angeles.
Between earning a bachelors degree in political science from Ithaca College in 1975 and embarking on his legal education, Williams spent four years serving as a Marine infantry officer. He graduated cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1982.
Staples CEO and chairman Ron Sargent praised the new GCs 25 years of legal management experience. With his proven leadership and experience across industries, he will play an important role in supporting the companys growth, said Sargent in a press release.
Williams joins the office supply giant at a time that its facing retail challenges in a weak U.S. economy. Total sales for the second quarter of 2012 dipped 6 percent compared to the previous year. Sargent said in a press release that the performance fell short of expectations. Staples scaled back its 2012 sales and earnings outlook as a result.
Moving forward, the CEO said, Were taking a hard look at each of our businesses, and we plan to make significant changes to improve results. Staples has a worldwide staff of 88,000 and generates more than $25 billion in annual revenues.