Mitchell Klipper, who during his 28-year career at Barnes & Noble oversaw many of the company’s store initiatives, including its launch of superstores, will retire May 2, the end of the retailer’s fiscal year. The announcement comes as B&N continues to investigate the possibility of separating its retail trade stores from the rest of the company, with a decision expected to be made by the middle of this year.

“Mitchell Klipper’s contributions to Barnes & Noble have been nothing short of spectacular,” said Len Riggio, chairman of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “He, more than anyone, has been the architect of our bookstore superstore expansion all across America. I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for our company, and for what he has meant to me as a friend and colleague.”

Klipper, who is now CEO of B&N’s retail group, will continue to serve as a special advisor to B&N after his retirement. The retail group consists of B&N’s tk trade stores, which posted solid holiday sales and continues to be profitable. The company has begun a search for a successor

“I’ve spent the past 28 years doing what I love and it has been an amazing journey building this great company into what it is today,” said Klipper. “It has been my honor to work alongside Len Riggio, one of the greatest retailers in America. There’s nothing more satisfying than to know that you’ve been part of creating something that has opened the world of books to the reading public while providing 30,000 plus jobs to people across America.”