B&N Shakeup: Lynch Gone, Huseby Promoted, Riggio in Charge
Less than two weeks after another dismal quarterly report at Barnes & Noble--which included the news that the company will no longer manufacture Nook color tablets--William Lynch, CEO for the past three years, has resigned, effective immediately.
At the same time, Michael P. Huseby, who joined B&N as CFO in March 2012, has been named CEO of the Nook Media subsidiary--B&N's digital operations--and president of Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Allen Lindstrom, v-p and corporate controller, has been promoted to CFO of Barnes & Noble, Inc., and Kanuj Malhotra, v-p of corporate development, has been promoted to CFO of Nook Media.
Chairman Len Riggio thanked Lynch for "helping transform Barnes & Noble into a leading digital content provider and for leading in the development of our award-winning line of Nook products," but said that "as the bookselling industry continues to undergo significant transformation," the company will rely on Huseby, B&N Retail Group CEO Mitchell Klipper and B&N College CEO Max J. Roberts as "the right executives to lead us into the future." Roberts will report to Huseby; Huseby and Klipper will report to Riggio. The company told the New York Times that is has no plans to appoint a new CEO for B&N, Inc., making Riggio de facto CEO of the company. (In his first mention in the company's announcement about the changes, Riggio was called executive chairman.)
Riggio also said that B&N is "in the process of reviewing its current strategic plan and will provide an update when appropriate." In February, Riggio, who owns a third of B&N, announced his interest in buying the retail part of the company.
The executives who were promoted yesterday are relative newcomers to B&N. Before joining B&N last year, Huseby held positions at Cablevision, Charter Communications and AT&T Broadband. Before joining B&N in 2007, Lindstrom was CFO at Liberty Travel. Before joining Nook Media in May 2012, Malhotra was a senior v-p and CFO at Affinion International.
Only four months ago, in March, B&N amended and renewed William Lynch's contract, extending it for two years, granting him more stock, giving him an immediate $1.8 million bonus (a reward for Microsoft's and Pearson's investments in Nook Media) and providing a retention bonus in case Nook Media was spun off from B&N. Lynch had been hired in 2010 largely to drive the digital side of the retailer's business.