Robert R. Nardelli, chairman and president/CEO of The Home Depot Inc., has resigned after a six-year run that failed to lift the home improvement retailer’s stock price.
Mr. Nardelli, a former GE executive, walks away with a $210 million compensation package, per the terms of his employment package. Frank Blake, Home Depot’s vice chairman and executive vice president, was named chairman/CEO effective Jan. 2.
“Under Bob’s tenure, the company made significant and necessary investments that greatly improved the company’s infrastructure and operations, expanded our markets to include wholesale distribution and new geographies, and undertook key strategic initiatives to strengthen the company’s foundation for the future,” a statement from Home Depot’s board said.
Mr. Nardelli was responsible for polishing Home Depot’s image and line, moving from lumber and electrical fittings to almost a Martha Stewart-like approach to do-it-yourself projects. Even the Web site at www.homedepot.com was vastly improved and a catalog launched.
Under his tenure, Home Depot went from investing $500,000 a year in technology to almost $500 million, Mr. Nardelli told attendees last year at the National Retail Federation’s annual conference in New York.
The company on his watch also spent $7 billion on Home Depot Supply, a division focused on the building trade. However, a slowing housing market may have affected Home Depot and thus impacted its share price.
Mr. Nardelli’s sudden resignation comes within a month of dissent from Relational Investors, a shareholder that questioned Home Depot’s strategy. A letter sent to Home Depot proposed an independent committee to gauge Home Depot’s direction and management.