A Barnes & Noble Inc. executive who once oversaw the company's Nook devices and e-books business has joined Wal-Mart Stores Inc., where he will lead online operations for the company's Sam's Club warehouse unit.
The departure of Jamie Iannone, 41 years old, is the latest in a string of executive exits at Barnes & Noble. The departures include Chief Executive William Lynch, who resigned in July after he said the company would stop making its own color tablets in favor of third-party devices. The company later reversed that position in August and is now studying its options. Chief Financial Officer Michael Huseby took over as CEO earlier this week.
After seven years at eBay Inc., Mr. Iannone joined Barnes & Noble in 2009 to help run its website. Shortly afterward, the company promoted him to run its prized digital business, where he oversaw its Nook devices and digital books. As one of the retailer's highest-paid executives, he earned $2.87 million for the fiscal year ended April 27, including salary and stock awards, according to a proxy statement filed in July.
Jamie Iannone was one of the senior managers who crafted the policy which simultaneously turned B&N's Android tablets into a walled garden while also neglecting to fill that garden with music, video, or enough apps. Along with Bill Lynch, Mr.Iannone was also one of the 2 people who signed off on the idea of selling the NookColor for $250 and the Nook Tablet for $350 when it launched in late 2011 (the Kindle Fire torpedoed that plan when it launched with a $199 price tag and a very nice content store).
While you cannot blame all of the Nook's failures on Mr Iannone, he does make the list of the top 5 people who should have been fired a year ago after the disastrous 2012 holiday season (but only because we're not allowed to line them up against the wall and shoot them). The subsequent decline of the Nook quarter after quarter after quarter only reinforced the point.