Steve Odland

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Steve Odland is an American businessman. He is President and CEO of the Committee for Economic Development.[1]


Early life[edit]

He received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration from The University of Notre Dame, and a Master's of Management degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.[2]


Since 2013 he has been President and CEO of the Committee for Economic Development, a non-partisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to the nation’s most critical issues.[3] The organization has a research and outreach portfolio focused on taxation and regulation[4]; the national debt[5]; health care[6]; corporate diversity[7]; early childhood,[8] K-12,[9] and postsecondary education[10]; campaign finance[11]; immigration[12]; and infrastructure.[13] CED’s membership consists primarily of CEOs and other senior business leaders from a range of sectors across the U.S.

In 2017, in collaboration with Joseph Minarik, Senior Vice President and Director of Research at CED, Odland co-authored Sustaining Capitalism: Bipartisan Solutions to Restore Trust & Prosperity.[14] The book lays out a clear plan for how business and policy leaders can generate prosperity for business and society now, all while making capitalism sustainable for generations to come. The book received coverage by, among other publications, Fortune,[15] Yahoo! Finance,[16] Bloomberg,[17] and CNBC.[18]

Steve began his career at the Quaker Oats Company.[2] From 1981 to 1996 he progressed through various positions and divisions at Quaker including pet foods, Golden Grain, international foods, and cereals. From 1996-1998 he served as President of the Foodservice Division of Sara Lee Bakery.[2] He subsequently became President and CEO of Tops Markets, a position he held until 2000.[2]

From 2001-2005 Odland was President, Chairman, and CEO of AutoZone.[2] At the end of his tenure, AutoZone had over $5.6B in net sales, and approximately 3,500 stores and 45,000 employees across the U.S. and Mexico.[19] He established the first corporate governance guidelines at the company. To drive teamwork and accountability he enacted, among other initiatives, the “40-headed CEO,” in which every month the 40 most senior executives (hence the "40-headed CEO”) convened for a half a day to review the company’s operations, performance, and financials.[20]

He was named top new CEO in 2002 by Bloomberg Markets Magazine.[21]

From 2005-2010 Odland was Chairman and CEO of Office Depot.[22] During his tenure he implemented award-winning environmental initiatives ranging from green products to green buildings and energy saving measures.[23] His commitment to diversity, including at the top echelons of the company, resulted in several awards and other accolades. The National Association for Female Executives named Office Depot as one of the top 30 companies dedicated to the advancement of women executives[24]; the Women’s Business Development Council named it the Florida Corporation of The Year[25]; recognized the company as one of the top for multicultural business opportunities.[26] Also, Office Depot’s Supply Chain Diversity team published a catalog to exclusively feature Historically Underutilized Businesses – a first for the industry and one of the few such efforts in all of retailing.[27] In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Office Depot Foundation donated $10,000 to Doctors Without Borders to provide medical supplies; it also donated $10,000 to Feed The Children.[28]

He is the 2007 recipient of Florida Atlantic University’s Business Leader of the Year.[29]

From 2011 to 2012 he taught as an Adjunct Professor in the graduate schools of business at Florida Atlantic University and Lynn University.[30]

He is profiled in the books, Nobodies to Somebodies: How 100 Great Careers Got Their Start,[31] and Leaders on Ethics: Real-world Perspectives on Today’s Business Challenges.[32]

He currently is a Director of General Mills, Inc.[33] and Analogic Corporation.[34] He is a Senior Advisor at PJ SOLOMON,[35] a Trustee of The Conference Board,[36] and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[37]

Odland is a Contributor to CNBC[38] and The Hill,[39] and a former Contributor to Forbes.[40]

He has been a member of the Business Roundtable and Chairman of its Corporate Governance Taskforce[2]; a U.S. Presidential Appointee as commissioner on the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission[41]; a member of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation[2]; a U.S. Presidential Appointee on the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation[2]; a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute for Corporate Ethics[2]; a member of the Advisory Council of the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business[2]; Chairman of Memphis Tomorrow[42]; and a member of the Florida Council of 100.[2]


  1. ^ "CED Press Release: Steve Odland Announced as CEO". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "CNBC Profile - Steve Odland". 21 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "CED Press Release: Steve Odland Announced as CEO". 
  4. ^ "CED Report: Corporate Income Tax Reform in 2017?". 
  5. ^ "CED Report: The Federal Budget Deficit and the Public Debt". 
  6. ^ "CED Report: Adjusting the Prescription". 
  7. ^ "CED Report: Every Other One". 
  8. ^ "CED Policy Issue Page: Early Learing". 
  9. ^ "CED Policy Issue Page: College- and Career-Ready". 
  10. ^ "CED Policy Issue Page: Postsecondary Education". 
  11. ^ "CED Policy Issue Page: Money in Politics". 
  12. ^ "CED Report: Immigration Policy That Works". 
  13. ^ "CED Report: Fixing America's Roads and Bridges". 
  14. ^ "Sustaining Capitalism: Bipartisan Solutions to Restore Trust & Prosperity". 
  15. ^ "Capitalism at the Crossroads". 
  16. ^ "Odland: Capitalism's biggest risks". 
  17. ^ "Former ODP CEO Steve Odland on New Book, Sustaining Capitalism". 
  18. ^ "Trump's economic overhaul". 
  19. ^ "Office Depot Names Steve Odland as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer". 
  20. ^ "AutoZone's "40-Headed CEO"". 
  21. ^ "Office Depot names Steve Odland as chairman and chief executive officer". 
  22. ^ "PJSC Profile". 
  23. ^ "Office Depot Wins 'Outstanding Environmental Leadership Award' from Office Products International". 
  24. ^ "Office Depot Recognized as a Top Company for Female Professionals by National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)". 
  25. ^ "Office Depot 2010 Corporate Citizenship Report" (PDF). 
  26. ^ "Office Depot 2010 Corporate Citizenship Report" (PDF). 
  27. ^ "Office Depot 2010 Corporate Citizenship Report" (PDF). 
  28. ^ "Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation Provide Free Faxing to Haiti to Help Families and Businesses with Earthquake Recovery". 
  29. ^ "FAU Business Leader of the Year". 
  30. ^ "PJSC Profile". 
  31. ^ "Nobodies to Somebodies: How 100 Great Careers Got Their Start". 
  32. ^ "Leaders on Ethics: Real-world Perspectives on Today's Business Challenges". 
  33. ^ "General Mills Board of Directors". 
  34. ^ "Analogic Corporation Board of Directors". 
  35. ^ "PJSC Profile". 
  36. ^ "The Conference Board Trustees". 
  37. ^ "Council on Foreign Relations Membership Roster". 
  38. ^ "CNBC Profile". 
  39. ^ "Steve Odland's Articles on The Hill". 
  40. ^ "Forbes Profile". 
  41. ^ "Commissioners of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission". Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. 
  42. ^ "Business Notables Bring Expertise to Fogelman College EMBA Speakers Series".