Barnes & Noble has appointed a retail veteran as the new head of its retail bookstore group. Ron Boire will also take over as CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc. when the spinoff of Barnes & Noble Education is completed later this summer. In addition to the appointment of Boire, Jamie Carey, chief merchandise officer of B&N since 2008, has been named chief operating officer of B&N.
B&N had been searching for a new retail head since Mitch Klipper stepped down earlier this year. With the appointment of Boire the company has hired an executive who will be responsible for all of the new B&N, Inc., which, minus the college division, will be comprised of the retail trade stores along with the remaining digital assets of Nook.
Mike Huseby, who has been B&N, Inc. CEO since January 2014, will give up all of B&N, Inc. duties when the college division is spun off, becoming executive chairman of B&NE. B&N chairman Len Riggio thanked Huseby for putting B&N in a position “to separate the college and retail businesses. Mike will now bring his financial and strategic leadership to the separate Barnes & Noble Education company.”
Boire’s appointment is not scheduled to take effect until September 8, at which point the separation of B&NE and B&N is expected to be complete. Boire is currently president and CEO, and a member of the board, of Sears Canada.
Prior to taking over Sears Canada, Boire had a broad range of experience in retail and technology. He was executive v-p, chief merchandising officer and president, Sears and Kmart Formats at Sears Holdings; president and CEO at Brookstone, Inc.; and president North America, Toys “R” Us. He also served in executive posts at Best Buy and Sony.
In announcing the appointment, Riggio highlighted Boire's wide experience. “I believe Ron’s extensive experience throughout all facets of the retail industry, combined with his leadership ability and proven track record, make him an ideal Chief Executive for Barnes & Noble,” Riggio said.
The appointment of Boire and the promotion of Carey give B&N a new executive team to guide the company as it looks to better integrate its retail and digital operations. In remarks last week following the release of its fiscal 2015 results, Huseby said that the future of B&N, Inc. will depend in part on how well the retail and Nook groups can work together to increase sales of digital and physical products.
Riggio pointed to the need for the different elements of B&N to better work together in commenting on Carey’s new job. Carey “has put together a great team of buyers and merchants who have improved our sales performance and increased gross margins, as well. In his newly expanded role Jaime will work closely with Ron on all aspects of company operations and be responsible for merchandising, marketing, e-Commerce, Nook and proprietary publishing.”