Deep Throat spilled the beans on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate. Sherron Watkins exposed the corruption and fraud endemic in the practices of her employer, Enron. But have you heard of David Sherwin?
Sherwin of Fort Myers, Florida is the office supplies world’s own whistleblower. He was fired from his job as a senior accounts manager for Office Depot after sending a drunk, angry email in April 2008. He had himself been at the centre of what he believed to be fraudulent actions by his employer. His involvement in and concern for Office Depot’s activity led to stress and problematic drinking which culminated in that self-destructive email. And he has since been on a one-man mission to bring down this supplier of office equipment with US $14 billion revenue per year. A fuller account-cum-interview can be found here.
Office Depot has been accused of overcharging several U.S. state and city governments in the course of fulfilling supply contracts, most recently by the city of Berkeley, California. The company is also facing severe financial difficulties with over 100 stores closing in recent months. It reported a loss of $1.54bn in the fourth quarter of 2008, down from a profit of $19m in the same period last year. More positively, Office Depot has recently been recognised by DiversityBusiness.com as one of the “Top Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities” for the ninth year in a row.
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