CEO of Staples, Inc. Will Deliver Keynote Address at 56th Annual Spring Commencement

(April 16, 2003) -- Commencement ceremonies will be held on the Fenner Quadrangle (weather permitting) on Saturday, May 17th beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Ron Sargent, Chief Executive Officer of Staples, Inc., will serve as keynote speaker for Wilkes University’s 56th annual spring commencement on Saturday, May 17, 2003.

A 13-year Staples veteran and member of the company’s board of directors, Sargent joined the company in 1989 and has held a variety of executive positions, helping build the business and shape its vision.

Most recently, Mr. Sargent was responsible for Staples’ worldwide operations, including U.S., Canadian and European retail superstores, Staples Contract, and the company’s supply chain management, merchandising and marketing initiatives. In March, Sargent reported Staples, Inc.’s sales and earnings for fiscal year 2002 were the best in the company’s history.

Mr. Sargent has worked in retail business more than half his life from stocking shelves and operating the cash register at the world’s largest supermarket chain, The Kroger Co., to becoming the first member of his family to go to college to earning his MBA. Sargent joined The Kroger Co. as a management trainee, and rose through the ranks in store operations, human resources, strategy, sales and marketing.

In 1991, Sargent led Staples catalog division and dramatically built the business, acquiring several contract stationers and developing the company’s delivery system. In 1997, Sargent led Staples’ North American operations and became president and CEO a year later.

He was instrumental in the 1998 acquisition and integration of Quill, a direct marketer of office supplies and business products to meet the needs of specific business customer segments. He has also contributed to Staples’ successful European business, which operates a catalog division and has superstores in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Mr. Sargent is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School. He sits on the board of the Yankee Candle Co. and the board of advisors to the Boston College Carroll School of Management and is active in fund raising in his community.

Wilkes University’s 56th Annual Spring Commencement will begin at 11 a.m. on the Fenner Quadrangle, weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Arnaud C. Marts Sports and Conference Center.

PHOTO: Ron Sargent