Tattered Cover has named Brad Dempsey as interim CEO of the beloved Denver bookstore. He replaces CFO Margie Keenan, who had served as interim CEO since store co-owner Kwame Spearman resigned from position in April following an unsuccessful run to be mayor of Denver. Spearman, who remains an investor, announced last month he was entering the race for an at-large seat on the Denver Public Schools board.

Dempsey, a lawyer specialized in finance and restructuring, will initially prioritize "addressing the company’s immediate financial challenges, improving the selection of books and gifts in stores, enhancing the customer experience, and fostering relationships with both Tattered Cover’s devoted customers and new customers," according to a press release.

The Tattered Cover was opened in 1971. The original owner was Stephen Cogil and it was purchased in 1974 by Joyce Meskis, who later sold it to Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan. It was purchased by Spearman, David Back and a group of investors that includes former ABA CEO Oren Teicher and former Macmillan CEO John Sargent in 2020 The store is considered among the leading independent bookstores in the country and has a long-history of being at the forefront in the fight for free speech and first amendment rights.

As for his personal commitment to the role of interim CEO, Dempsey said, “I am fully committed to working with the Tattered Cover team to remedy its immediate financial obstacles and refresh the company’s operations to continue Tattered Cover’s legacy of being a favorite Colorado destination for locals and visitors." He added, "I look forward to supporting the company’s dedicated employees and senior leadership team who have worked hard to serve the company’s customers and mission in challenging times. I believe in the Tattered Cover family and its mission and know that this next chapter will be bright and successful.”

It isn't entirely clear how long Dempsey will serve in the interim role. The store owners expect to appoint someone with deep book retailing experience to lead Tattered Cover prior to the holiday bookselling season.