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Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch resigns

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Barnes & Noble (s BKS) CEO William Lynch has resigned, the struggling company announced after the market closed Monday. Lynch, who was appointed CEO in 2010, oversaw the brief rise and hasty decline of the company’s Nook business.

Barnes & Noble is not appointing a new CEO to oversee the entire company; instead, the retail and digital sides will be managed separately. Michael Huseby, who was the company’s CFO, replaces Lynch as CEO of Nook Media and president of Barnes & Noble. Mitchell Klipper remains CEO of Barnes & Noble’s retail division. Huseby and Klipper will report to Barnes & Noble’s executive chairman and largest stockholder, Leonard Riggio.

Max Roberts, CEO of Barnes & Noble’s college division, will report to Huseby. Allen Lindstrom, the company’s corporate controller, has been promoted to CFO to replace Huseby.

“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 said in a statement. In addition, according to the release, “Mr. Riggio added that the company is in the process of reviewing its current strategic plan and will provide an update when appropriate.”

Barnes & Noble spun off the Nook business and B&N college stores into a separate division called Nook Media last year, with a $300 million investment from Microsoft (s MSFT). But the company’s revenues have continued to fall, dragged down largely by the poor performance of Nook. Barnes & Noble announced in its most recent earnings report that it will stop making Nook tablets in-house, though it will continue to develop e-readers.

Lynch was promoted to CEO of Barnes & Noble in 2010. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he was president of Before his time at the company, he held executive roles at, IAC’s and Palm.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as CEO of this terrific Company over the last three years,” Lynch said in a statement. “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.”

Barnes & Noble stock was down around two percent in after-hours trading.

5 Responses to “Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch resigns”

  1. Maybe these dire NOOk announcements will work to their advantage.. we have sold our NOOK Color & Tablet, considering getting rid of my Smple Touch… and go back to the stores for buying books. The entire eBook scenario is maddening since the big players got involved, it was much easier and more reliable when smaller palyers were involved. Similar to the book store senario!

    I never undestood the need for warehouse size bookstores either, when B&N had several small stores in NYC it was much nicer, and convenient enough. How many books does B&N need to sell to support a big box store? Ludicrous!

    Here’s an idea I had a few years ago… GIVE AWAY the NOOK Simple Touch, with a committment to buy a set number of books, or join a book club, at reduced book prices. The Simple Touch is not worth the price they are charging, but for real readers it is an in to buying books, whichneed sot be the main reason for B&N.. SELL BOOKS!

    Then again, we need READERS, which are getting far and few between tanks to our wonderful education system. Maybe it is a declining business after all.

  2. Scott Jensen

    They’re clinging onto the wrong business model and need to strike out with a new one. However, the only suggestion I have is one that would probably be too radical for them: free ebooks supported by between-chapter advertising. That business model is more suited for Google than B&N, but it is the only one that I see being effective in the future.

    As for their current business model, I think the only way to TRY to make a go of it is to dramatically reduce down the price of Nooks and focus on making all their revenue off of book sales. And on that score, a monthly fee to read any book would probably be a good thing to try. Amazon has its Prime service but they only let you read ONE book free a month. If B&N at least upped that to two free ebooks a month, it might help. Might.

    • Define “trouble”…in many ways, they created their own problem now. They so how firmly believes Amazon is their direct competitor and if you look at Amazon’s assets, they do a lot more than just sell books, digital or print. They then plunge a ton of money into developing NOOK and pit it not just against Amazon but Apple and other Android tablets. There is a difference between making an innovative product and making it cheaply without brand power. Guess which category NOOK belongs to? Wrong management team created this faulty vision, I don’t think I can blame just one guy but you can’t also fired the entire team either. Where they go from here will be interesting, and for now, as long as they reduce their loss and tries to stay above the red…they can last a while longer than 5-yrs.

      • Reducing their loss will only slow down the inevitable.

        Their problem is that their market has shifted. The same way that the small book store on the corner has been put out of business by the big book sellers, the market has shifted again. When the big discount book sellers came along, they shifted the market from a personal experience in the small shop to a discount and variety experience at the big book sellers.

        The market has now shifted to a digital market, where e-books is outselling physical books. B&N still have their brick & mortar shops that they have to maintain. They are also an American only company, although they do sell internationally, as a non-American I rather buy at Amazon or a local online shop.

        As you said, it will be interesting to see where they go from here, although I don’t think reducing losses will be enough. They somehow will have to adapt to the market and find new ways of being relevant again.