Appliance retailer The Home Depot(R) announced that it will formally create a business development operation based in China. The retailer also announced it named Bill E. Patterson to the newly created position of president, The Home Depot Asia.
Mr. Patterson will lead the company's expansion into China and will report directly to Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO of The Home Depot. Mr. Patterson, who has served as president, Central Division since 2002, joined The Home Depot in 1999. Prior to The Home Depot, Mr. Patterson's experience spanned more than 30 years in retail in the U.S., Asia, Mexico, and Europe. He has held positions as chairman, president, and CEO of Sears Roebuck of Mexico, and president and CEO of HomeBase.
"About 70 percent of home improvement spending in China is for completion of interior space in new homes. We see that as a solid growth opportunity given The Home Depot's strength in merchandise and services geared to finishing out a home," Mr. Patterson said.
The announcement is the company's latest move as it expands its market presence internationally. The Home Depot just completed its acquisition of Home Mart in Mexico, which is said to have doubled the company's presence in the country. In addition, the retailer will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in Canada this year, where it operates more than 100 stores.
Concurrent with this move, the company also announced that Troy Rice, senior vice president of Operations since 2002, will replace Mr. Patterson as president, Central Division at its Chicago, IL, U.S. office. Mr. Rice, a 14-year veteran of The Home Depot, had previously served as a division president for its former Northwest Division from 2001 to 2002. The Central Division services approximately 600 stores, including the company's 40 stores in Mexico, and employs approximately 80,000 associates.
The company has also promoted Carl Liebert to senior vice president ofOperations, replacing Mr. Rice. Mr. Liebert joined The Home Depot last year from Circuit City, where he had served as a division president. Both appointments are effective immediately.
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