Indigo Books & Music, Canada's dominant bookstore chain, announced that founder Heather Reisman will be retiring and stepping down as executive Chair and as a director of Indigo. The change is effective as of August 22. In addition, four board members have resigned: Frank Clegg, Howard Grosfield, Anne Marie O'Donovan and Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa. Dr. Oruwa said they were stepping down “because of her loss of confidence in board leadership and because of mistreatment,” in a press release; no reason was given for the departure of the other three board members.
"The time has come for me to retire from an active role at Indigo," Reisman said. "Deciding when it is time to move on is one of the toughest decisions a founder must make, but I know this is the right moment for me. I firmly believe the Indigo family, spanning from coast to coast, is the best in the business, and the company has a bright future. Building Indigo over the past 25 years has been the adventure of a lifetime. As I embark on this new chapter, I will be rooting for the company every step of the way."
Indigo has been faced with several challenges in the past year, notably a ransomware attack that compromised the personal information of employees and took down the chain's online operation for several weeks in February. Full service to the company's internal and external services wasn't fully restored for more than a month.
The company struggled during the pandemic, suffering from extensive and lengthy lockdowns across Canada and especially in Ontario. In the quarter December 31, 2022 sales slipped 1.9%, to C$422.7 million, and profits dropped 24%, to C$35.2 million. The full year results are expected to be released on June 27. Indigo has also lost investor confidence over the past several years, with its stock price falling from C$19 a share in 2018 to about C$2 today.
As of the end of 2022, Indigo operated 88 superstores under the names Chapters and Indigo and 84 small format stores, under the names Coles and Indigospirit. It employs approximately 5,000 people across Canada.
The company celebrated is 25th anniversary last year. In 2021, there was a significant leadership change at the company when Peter Ruis was named president, and on September 5, 2022 he was appointed CEO, taking over from Reisman. Ruis, who is British, has 30 years of experience in retail, most recently at Anthropologie and John Lewis.