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Ashley Furniture Hires Ex-Office Depot In-House Leader as Chief Legal Officer

Phillip Bantz LAW.COM

Former Office Depot Inc. in-house leader and executive Steve Calkins has joined Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. as the company’s chief legal officer.

Calkins is based in Tampa, Florida, and will supervise Ashley’s legal department while leading the company’s various legal efforts and international operations, including business transactions, compliance and regulatory issues. 

Ashley is one of the largest home furnishings manufacturers in the world and has nearly 1,000 locations across 55 countries. The company, which is headquartered in Arcadia, Wisconsin, reported $4.7 billion in revenue last year. 

Calkins spent 16 years with Office Depot, where he began as a senior corporate attorney and moved up the company ladder, serving as deputy general counsel, executive vice president, chief legal officer, corporate secretary and, most recently, president of the business solutions division. 

He said in 2016, when he was appointed CLO and executive VP, that he was “looking forward to utilizing my experience in both corporate law and in leading the company’s contract sales division to provide the broad business perspective so important in today’s increasingly complex legal environment.” 

In an earlier interview, while discussing his decision to move to a management position, he said, “There has never been an ‘us vs. them’ mentality here. The lawyers are part of the business.”

Calkins declined to comment on his new position on Monday.  

PJ Harari, a partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa who placed Calkins at Ashley, said Calkins’ “more than 21 years of progressive legal and operational experience makes him the right executive to take the helm of the legal team at this growing international company.

“Steve is a bright, committed individual with a strong work ethic,” Harari added. “Not only will his leadership have an immediate impact, but he is also sure to add value in many other strategic areas of the organization in the coming years.”

Calkins began his legal career in 1996 as a law clerk for Lewis Babcock, a firm in Columbia, South Carolina. He went on to work as an attorney at Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson in Tampa before joining McGuireWoods and later Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, both in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to his LinkedIn profile

He is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of South Carolina School of Law. 

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