Do you know how I (and many others) have been saying that B&N needed to make radical changes to right the company before it was too late? Today Barnes & Noble finally took a step in the right direction.
Barnes & Noble has fired
Captain Edward Smith Bill Lynch, and what's even more surprising is that they haven't replaced him with anyone.
The new organization chart for B&N now has 2 division heads (Nook Media/B&N College, B&N Retail Group) under the command of Len Riggio, the Chairman of the Board - and largest stockholder, BTW.
Lynch has been with B&N since 2009 and the CEO since 2010. During that time he took one of the publishing industry's best hope to counter Amazon and ground it into the dust. Or at least he is getting the blame; I'm not convinced he deserves sole responsibility. Lynch oversaw the rise of the Nook and its spinoff in mid 2012 to form Nook Media. Microsoft took a $600 million investment in Nook Media, which was briefly believed to be worth upwards of a billion and a half dollars. But after a disastrous holiday season much of the value vanished.
Update: One commenter is disputing whether Lynch was fired. Let's look at the facts, shall we? He left the day his resignation was announced, only 4 months after signing a new contract. Yep, he was fired.
The press release also mentions that B&N's CFO has changed jobs; Michael Huseby is now the CEO of Nook Media. Huseby became the CFO in March 2012 after leaving Cablevision. Max J. Roberts will stay on as head of B&N College, where he will report to Huseby. Mitchell Klipper will remain the CEO of the Retail Store Group, and Allen Lindstrom will assume the role of CFO.
Well holy shit.
Riggio has just managed to pull of a coup. It's a shame that this couldn't have happened sooner, but at least there's a chance that this reorganization might save the company. Do you suppose this might be Riggio's first step towards his plan to split off the retail stores and take them private?
I don't know, but I do hope this is the first step in thew right direction.
When I wrote about B&N's year end financial report a while back I made an offhand comment about B&N going bankrupt next year.That wasn't just flippancy; I see it as a real possibility. And it still could happen even though Lynch is gone.