Barnes & Noble announced this week that its CEO, William Lynch, has resigned. There’s little surprise among the business media, as the company has been struggling amid efforts to keep brick-and-mortar stores relevant while ushering it into digital sales on the Nook.
Lynch began his tenure at Barnes & Noble as president of its website operations.
The press release
announcing Lynch’s exit is a fairly terse affair, with no concrete reason offered for his resignation. It includes a quote from the exiting executive, but it only offers well wishes rather than an explanation.
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Instead of replacing Lynch, the company moves Michael Huseby, its CFO, to the Nook division CEO. Mitchell Klipper will remain the CEO of the company’s retail division and Max Roberts stays on as CEO of the college division. The CEOs-by-committee will report to the company’s founder and executive chairman, Leonard Riggio.
… Riggio has been trying to buy back the bookstore piece of Barnes & Noble. Maybe that’s the future. It’s easy to forget how the company’s stores turned the whole bookselling business upside down. Before Amazon was going to kill the book, Barnes & Noble was going to kill the bookstore. There was coffee and free Wi-Fi, the restrooms were clean, and it was a nice place to go.
It’s hard to know if the same business model, left to survive on its own, would work today. But it is what Barnes & Noble knows how to do.
It should come as no surprise that it was time for a change, as Barnes & Noble reported a $118.6 million loss in its last earnings report. Revenue from e-book sales, meanwhile, dropped 9 percent. None of that was mentioned in the press release.