The Home Depot said it will combine its Mid-Atlantic division, currently based in South Plainfield, N.J., and its Southeast division, currently based in Atlanta, Ga., to become one operating division.

The new Eastern division will service more than 450 Home Depot store locations in the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States and the Caribbean and will have more than 90,000 employees. It will be headquartered in Atlanta. The company said it plans to maintain a facility in New Jersey.

Tom Taylor, a 19-year Home Depot veteran, has been named to lead the new organization. Taylor had been the company's Southeast division president since January 2002. Previously, he served as the company's senior vice president/professional business and was Northwest division president from 1999 to 2000. Since joining the company in 1983, Taylor has held virtually every operating position, including store manager, district manager, and regional vice president.

John Wicks, president, Mid-Atlantic division, will join the merchandising team in Atlanta, reporting to Jerry Edwards, executive vice president.

"As Home Depot continues to grow and implement new systems and processes, we always keep an eye towards optimizing our operating efficiencies," said Bob Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO of The Home Depot, in a statement. "This integration will allow us to have more consistent execution and implementation in this key region."

The Home Depot reported sales of $53.6 billion for fiscal 2001. It operates 1,446 stores in 49 states, Puerto Rico, seven Canadian provinces and Mexico.