January 9, 2009, 12:00 AM

Barnes & Noble picks HSN exec to lead e-commerce division

Barnes & Noble Inc. has hired William J. Lynch, Jr. to head up BarnesandNoble.com, the book retailer’s e-commerce unit. Lynch joins Barnes & Noble from HSN Inc., an online, catalog, store and TV retailer.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

 

Barnes & Noble Inc. yesterday announced it has hired William J. Lynch, Jr. to head up BarnesandNoble.com, the book retailer’s online division. Lynch joins Barnes & Noble from HSN Inc., an online, catalog, store and TV retailer. At HSN, Lynch was vice president of marketing and general manager of HSN.com, the retailer’s e-commerce unit.

Before joining HSN, Lynch was CEO and co-founder of Gifts.com, a subsidiary of IAC. Other posts include vice president and general manager of e-commerce for Palm Inc. In that role, he oversaw Palm’s web sites, including Palm.com, the Palm Online Store, the Palm Software Connection and the Palm.Net wireless ISP. He also in the past worked in management for Seagram Universal and Guinness.

 

“William brings a broad array of skills to Barnes & Noble,” says Steve Riggio, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “He has experience in product development, brand marketing, relationship marketing and direct marketing; he has managed both a technology start-up company and run large e-commerce organizations.”

In August, Marie J. Toulantis, stepped down from her role as CEO of Barnes & Noble’s online business. Lynch’s title is president of the business. A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman says Lynch will have the same responsibilities as Toulantis, but his title is different because the retailer is now a private company.

 

The naming of an e-commerce president for the bookseller comes just days after competitor Borders Inc. announced a company-wide reorganization that included the naming of a new CEO, Ron Marshall, who early in his career worked for Barnes & Noble. Other changes in that announcement included : a new chief financial officer and executive vice president of finance, Mark Bierley; and a new executive vice president of merchandising and marketing, Anne Kubek. Kevin Ertell remains vice president of e-commerce for Borders Inc.

Both book merchants report recent sales declines. Borders says overall holiday sales for the nine-week period ended Jan. 3 fell 11.7% year-to-year to $868.8 million, as the new Borders.com compiled $20.3 million in sales. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble reported that web sales dropped 11% over the holidays to $114.2 million. For the 48 weeks ending Jan. 3, 2009, Barnes & Noble.com sales were $422.9 million, falling 0.4% from a year earlier.

 

Barnes & Noble is No. 38 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and HSN is No. 25.

 

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