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Bill Lynch Signs New Contract to Stay on as B&N CEO

From the good old days

From the good old days

Barnes & Noble filed SEC paperwork last week that revealed William Lynch, whose 2 years as the CEO of B&N saw the Nook change from a successful challenger to the Kindle into a market failure, is going to be staying on for another couple years.

From what I can tell, B&N is inordinately fond of throwing good money after bad.

Even though he head the company through 2 years of flagging hardware sales and shrinking ebook market share, Bill Lynch is going to stay on as CEO and keep his existing salary package for the next 2 years. He’s also going to get an extra couple million in cash for getting Microsoft and Pearson to make capital investments in Nook Media.

I suppose one could say that it’s good that the captain didn’t abandon his ship, but I disagree. I think that the captain should have been pushed overboard.

But on the upside, there is at least one positive detail in the SEC paperwork. Bill Lynch might be keeping his job, but if the company splits he will be going with Nook Media.

Len Riggio is currently trying to buy the B&N retail stores from B&N, and if me succeeds then Riggio will get the stores and Lynch will be left to run the rump of the company – Nook Media, basically. Lynch would also get a cash retention bonus of $1.5 million to stay on as Nook Media tanked. The upside would be that he wouldn’t get to take the retail stores down as well, so there is something.

The really sad part is that in 2011 Lynch earned $10 million in salary and bonuses while the success of the Nook. I can’t find current data on his total compensation package for 2012, but I do know that his salary was $1.2 million. Don’t you wish they would make him give the money back?

B&N has just come off a disastrous holiday season, with retail and hardware sales in the toilet. What’s more, the company expects that the coming year will be worse.

At this point radical measures are needed to save the company, and it appears that only one capable of coming up with an idea is Len Riggio. He wants to save the retail stores at the expense of Nook Media, which is probably going to result in the death of Nook Media.

I would not buy a Nook this year – not even if it were a free gift. I doubt there will be a store to support it when next March rolls around.


image by karen horton

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Mike Cane March 11, 2013 um 9:40 am

Let’s wait and see what Lynch does that’s "not going to continue to do what we’ve been doing" first. The Nooks have been good hardware that have put to shame tech companies that create plastic junk. All they need is to fix their damned software so it’s open.

Jim Hayward March 11, 2013 um 9:46 am

Although I’m a Kindle user, I have always had a soft spot for the Nook (and B&N). However, B&N has continually shot itself in the foot as far as the Nook goes.

It really has gone from being a credible challenger to being a bit of a joke – and it’s entirely due to management and poor marketing rather than any inherent flaw or shortcoming with the hardware itself.

Some of the communications that have come out from the company have been risible. Usually withdrawn after the event – but the damage has usually been done by then.

You would need to be a bit of a gambler to consider buying a Nook just at the moment I think.

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