Barnes & Noble is currently looking for its fifty millionth CEO in the past five years, and the Shelf Awareness newsletter wants to help. They have proposed that, rather than hire someone from outside the industry, B&N should hire a book industry pro to run the US's largest bookstore chain.
SA has launched a hunt for B&N's next CEO, and they have invited all of us to participate.
Following the abrupt firing of Demos Parneros on July 3, Barnes & Noble is searching for another CEO, its fifth in six years. If the company is consistent, it will hire yet another chief executive with little or no experience in the book world, requiring him or her to spend time learning on the job about the often quirky book business ("products are sold to retailers with prices on them and on a returnable basis?!"). The perceived benefit of hiring someone from outside the business to bring a new perspective is long gone--remember how much that helped Borders? And filling this job right is all the more crucial now because publishers need B&N as a bulwark against Amazon and indie booksellers need publishers' distribution infrastructure that services bricks-and-mortar stores, both chain and indie.
Like many in the book world, we at Shelf Awareness wonder why B&N, founded by proven book people, can't seem to find any qualified leaders from the book business. We believe there are plenty of capable, experienced book people who could step in and make a difference. And we bet you do, too. So, as a public service (and for a bit of fun), we're encouraging our readers to nominate possible CEOs for B&N.
Who would you recommend for the role?