William Lynch led BarnesandNoble.com before becoming CEO.
Don Davis , Editor in Chief
Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation’s biggest bookstore chain, has a new CEO.
Following a weak financial performance in fiscal 2013 and a new strategy to refocus its Nook business on more digital content and less tablet manufacturing, Barnes & Noble has accepted the resignation of William Lynch and appointed a team of executives to run key aspects of the business. Rather than appoint one CEO to head up the entire organization, Barnes & Noble, No. 27 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has appointed teams of executives to run key parts of the business. Barnes & Noble did not say if it will conduct a search to appoint a new permanent CEO.
Michael Huseby, formerly the company’s chief financial officer, has been appointed as president of Barnes & Noble Inc. and CEO of Nook Media. Max Roberts, CEO of Barnes & Noble College, is now in charge of all corporate digital education and will report to Huseby. Mitchell Klipper, CEO of Barnes & Noble Retail Group will remain in his position, but will report to executive chairman Leonard Riggio.
Allen Lindstrom, vice president and corporate controller, has been promoted to chief financial officer and will report to Huseby, Kanuj Malhotra, vice president of corporate development, has been named chief financial officer of Nook Media. He also will report to Huseby.
“We thank William Lynch for helping transform Barnes & Noble into a leading digital content provider and for leading in the development of our award-winning line of NOOK products including Nook Simple Touch, Nook Simple Touch Glowlight, and Nook HD and Nook HD+ ,” Riggio says. “As the bookselling industry continues to undergo significant transformation, we believe that Michael, Mitchell and Max are the right executives to lead us into the future.” Riggio added that the company is in the process of reviewing its strategic plan and will provide an update “when appropriate.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as CEO of this terrific company over the last three years,” said William Lynch. “There is a great executive team and board in place at Barnes & Noble, and I look forward to the many innovations the company will be bringing to its millions of physical and digital media customers in the future.”
Lynch was the head of BarnesandNoble.com in March 2010 when the company elevated him to CEO. The company emphasized at the time that Lynch’s e-commerce credentials qualified him to lead Barnes & Noble at a time when more books were being sold online and the emergence of electronic book readers, such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, were transforming bookselling into an increasingly digital business.
By 2012, 38.6% of all books, music and videos were sold online by Top 500 retailers, according to data in the 2013 Top 500 Guide. That was the second-highest percentage of sales moving online among 15 major merchandise categories, behind only office supplies at 49.7%.