News Feature | July 9, 2015

Barnes & Noble Names New CEO To Revive Retail, Nook

By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer

Barnes & Nobile New CEO

Books and media retailer Barnes & Noble, Inc has named a new Chief Executive Officer of the Retail and NOOK® unit businesses and is moving more towards regaining their once-firm hold in the retail market. The new CEO, Ronald D. Boire, comes from Sears Canada, where he is President and CEO, and a member of Sears Canada's Board of Directors. Boire's new position is effective September 8, 2015, per Barnes & Noble, Inc's press release.

Boire worked at several retailers as a CEO before Sears Canada, including Brookstone, Toys “R” Us, and Best Buy. As Executive Vice President, Global Merchandise Manager for Best Buy, he managed Best Buy's U.S. business teams, global technology and vendor management, global sourcing, and private label development. As Barnes & Noble struggles with the  NOOK® unit, Boire's leadership and experience in consumer electronics will help guide them towards the next step.

“I believe Ron’s extensive experience throughout all facets of the retail industry, combined with his leadership ability and proven track record, make him an ideal Chief Executive for Barnes & Noble,” says Leonard Riggio, Chairman of Barnes & Noble, Inc, in a press release issued by the retailer.

Boire is expected to join the Barnes & Noble Board of Directors, and when his position of CEO is effective this September, the current Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc, Michael P. Huseby, will become Executive Chairman of Barnes & Noble Education, and a member of the new company's Board of Directors. The leadership change also includes the promotion of Jaime M. Carey, Chief Merchandising Officer, to Chief Operating Officer, a promotion that's effective immediately.

“Mike Huseby has done a superb job since he joined the Company in 2012. Under his leadership we have improved the performance of all of our business segments and he has helped put the Company in a position to separate the College and Retail businesses. Mike will now bring his financial and strategic leadership to the separate Barnes & Noble Education company,” says Riggio.

Barnes & Noble announced in February 2015 that it would spin off their Barnes & Noble Education stores into their a separate publicly traded company, changing the previous plan of partnering Barnes & Noble Education with their Nook business. Nook instead remains as part of Barnes & Noble Retail. Barnes & Noble Education is the retailer's best-performing business, and runs 714 stores. When the split was announced, retail experts declared it a smart move, as the repositioning of Barnes & Noble Education would help the company compete against the encroaching presence of Amazon on college campuses. Barnes & Noble expects the spinoff to be completed by the end of August 2015. As the business of Barnes & Noble Education ramps up, some colleges may opt to have the retailer manage their college bookstores, which could prove profitable.

Once the spinoff is complete, Barnes & Noble Education will be able to continue its growth in the digital and rental book markets, as well as the brick and mortar stores, while Barnes & Noble, under the leadership of Boire, can focus on improving their retail business and NOOK® unit.

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