CHICAGO -- Retailer OfficeMax Inc. yesterday said chief executive Christopher Milliken had resigned and acknowledged misstating 2004 results amid an accounting scandal in the latest setback for the struggling office products retailer.
The company also said it had fired two more employees, increasing to six the number terminated for sending $3.3 million in bogus bills to a supplier over a two-year period.
The disclosures were the latest in a series of problems for the company since last fall, when it changed its name from Boise Cascade Corp. and moved its headquarters from Idaho to Itasca, Ill. That move followed the late 2003 acquisition of OfficeMax -- then based in Cleveland -- for $1.2 billion by Boise Cascade, which sold off its wood and paper products operations to focus on office products.
Shares of OfficeMax fell $1.73, or 5.5 percent, to close at $30.02 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange. They are down more than 20 percent since June.
Milliken, who had been president and chief executive since November, departed in what OfficeMax called a ''mutual decision" of the CEO and the board of directors related to the company's poor recent performance.
He is the third top-level official to leave this year. Chief financial officer Brian Anderson and retail chief Gary Peterson resigned last month, when the company also said its fourth-quarter earnings report would be delayed because of accounting problems.
Executive chairman George Harad, who recently announced plans to retire in June, took over as interim chief executive while the company began the search for a permanent CEO. Harad spent 10 years as chief executive of Boise Cascade and helped orchestrate its purchase of OfficeMax.
Analysts said the company's efforts to find a leader would likely be further complicated by the fact that rival Office Depot Inc. also is searching for a chief executive. Market leader Staples Inc. and Office Depot both are outperforming number three OfficeMax.