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Nook Exec Leaves Barnes & Noble to Join Wal-mart

Jamie Iannone, the architect of the rise and fall of the Nook platform, left Barnes & Noble a couple weeks ago to take a position managing the Sam’s Club online sales division.

The WSJ reports:

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.

Good riddance.

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flyingtoastr January 13, 2014 um 10:43 am

I wonder when 2 people leaving over an 8 month period became a "string of executive exits".

Nate Hoffelder January 13, 2014 um 12:24 pm

I will not be the first to use the phrase.

flyingtoastr January 13, 2014 um 1:19 pm

Scott Forstall (VP of iOS) and John Browlett (VP of Retail) left Apple within weeks of each other last year. Was Apple seeing a string of executive departures and a certain failure of their management? Hell, Amazon lost 4 VP’s within a 1 year period in 2012. Is Amazon seeing massive turnover that spells doom?

No, because two data points don’t illustrate a trend. A real string of departures is what you see out of companies like Blackberry and HTC, where almost the entirety of the executive staff is gone within a year. Two departures over eight months is pretty normal.

I don’t like Iannone any more than you, but DAT HYPERBOLE. It hurts.

Nate Hoffelder January 13, 2014 um 1:25 pm

Oh, you’re referring to the text I quoted. Yes, that is ridiculous.

Caleb Mason January 13, 2014 um 12:36 pm

Wouldn’t it be great to know how many Amazon-purchased ebooks are being read on iPads using their open/free Kindle Reader? One of Amazon’s smarter strategic moves for ebooks in my opinion. They understand the open nature of software (and being first and foremost a reseller) in ways the book people would probably not. Apple learned this lesson decades ago themselves. Sony, too, with their proprietary memory sticks for only their cameras, and not the open SD cards people actually wanted and had for all their storage needs pre-USB days.

flyingtoastr January 13, 2014 um 1:14 pm

Yes, Amazon’s proprietary formatting and draconian DRM schema are the epitome of open software.

Are you trolling?

Caleb January 13, 2014 um 1:33 pm

I only troll for bass. Life and business are sadly about competition. At some point all the time whining about unfair business practices needs to become how to compete smarter or die. One hears very little whining in the tech industry. The game has been the game since the early Microsoft Netscape anti-trust battles. The book industry can find its way forward by thinking strategically beyond the narrow confines of how things have always been done. I respect Amazon’s abilities to think strategically and create better customer experiences. New robber barons will replace them with time.

Ben January 14, 2014 um 8:22 am

Goodness, let him go share some of his "brilliant" ideas with Wal-Mart.

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