Approximately one week after Peter Ruis resigned as CEO of Indigo Books & Music after being in that role for little more than a year, Canada's dominant bookstore chain turned to a familiar face to head the company-- company founder and onetime CEO Heather Reisman is back as CEO. This summer, Reisman had officially retired as Indigo executive chair and director.

In addition to Reisman's return, Indigo announced that Craig Loudon is adding the title of COO to his position of CFO; the previous COO, Gil Dennis, who had been with Indigo for 8 years, resigned yesterday. Furthermore, Markus Dohle, former global CEO of Penguin Random House who joined the board this summer, was appointed board chair. Reisman rejoins the board as well, which also added Eileen Naughton, most recently Chief People Officer at Google Inc. and former president of Time magazine, to the board. This summer the saw several members of its board resign and replaced, in a move that brought Dohle and others to Indigo.

The ongoing management shifts have worried many in Canadian publishing and comes as Indigo continues to deal with sales declines and the fallout from a website hack earlier this year which crippled the company's sales and online ordering systems for nearly two months. For the first quarter ended July 1, 2023, Indigo reported a 12% drop in revenue, with sales falling to C$179.2 million compared to C$204.6 million in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was a loss of $21.4 million, compared to a loss of $19.2 million in the prior year. The company blamed the hack, as well as a dearth of hot titles, for the poor performance.

Can Reisman's return help? Perhaps. Certainly as the company moves into the holiday sales period, Reisman—a familiar face to Canadian publishers and book buyers—should be reassuring. A selection of Reisman's favorite books, dubbed "Heather's Picks," have long been prominent bestselling books for the company and those picks, a spokesperson assured PW, will return.

“There is a clear path for Indigo to regain its momentum,” Reisman said in a press release announcing her return. “I love this company and its mission. Even more, I care deeply about our people, who have given so much to build this incredible company over more than two and a half decades. I know that together we will return Indigo to growth and profitability. I’m thrilled for both Indigo and for Craig Loudon about his promotion to COO. Craig has not only the institutional knowledge and experience to support me and our entire team in his new role, he has also been a trusted partner for our employees, our suppliers and our shareholders for a long time.”

Dohle added: “We are incredibly grateful that Heather has agreed to return to the helm of Indigo and as a member of the board, and that Craig has agreed to take on the key role of COO. More than ever, Heather’s unique experience is needed as we work to bring Indigo back to profitable growth." In his board role, Dohle will oversee the human resources, compensation, and governance committees.

Book buyers will get a preview of the possible future direction of the company when it opens a new 16,000 sq.-ft. "urban concept store" at The Well, a new retail and housing development in the King West neighborhood of Toronto, this fall. Plans for the store include "immersive shoppable product vignettes," a vinyl record shop featuring a jukebox and curated selection of books, a gourmet coffee truck, and a plant shop with live plants and pots, as well as a robust live event and book club program.