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January 09, 2014

Comings & Goings: Barnes & Noble Appoints Michael Huseby

Barnes & Noble has appointed Michael Huseby as its new CEO as the massive bookstore chain faces massive changes in the publishing industry.

“Since the day he joined the company, Mike has proven to be an excellent financial and business executive, whose leadership skills have earned the respect of the entire organization, as well as our Board of Directors,” said Leonard Riggio, chairman of Barnes & Noble. “Although a relative newcomer to the retail book business, he has quickly developed a comprehensive understanding of the unique opportunities and challenges the Company faces, and he has a vision for the future in which I am in complete accord. Mike also has a passion for bookselling, which makes him a perfect fit for this job.”

Huseby was optimistic about the company’s future and praised the B&N’s leadership team.

“I am excited and honored to have been chosen as CEO of one of America’s most beloved companies,” he said “I am pleased, as well, to be joining an organization which is driven by both a sense of mission, and by a commitment to achieve excellence in everything it pursues. Led by Mitchell Klipper, Max Roberts and many exceptional leaders, not to mention thousands of dedicated booksellers, the company is well positioned to maintain and grow its leadership position in the worlds of bookselling and the sale of digital media. My role, as I see it, is to enhance and unlock the value of these businesses for our shareholders. We are well-positioned in today’s dynamic reading and learning markets and confident in our ability to provide our customers with the best content offerings, digital media and educational products available in today’s marketplace.”

Despite Huseby’s optimism, the company is facing some harsh realities. More people are opting for ebooks, and the company is pushing its Nook line of ereaders, but people are mostly reading ebooks on Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle devices than they are on Nooks. Barnes & Noble has also gone through some internal turmoil after the previous CEO William Lynch resigned in July.

The past few years have been tough for chains dealing in physical media. In late 2013, Blockbuster announced that it was closing its physical rental stores in the face of customers preferring streaming and mail order rental services like Netflix. Borders, B&N’s longtime competitor, folded in 2011 after being unable to keep up with the growth of ebooks.

Huseby previously served as the chain’s CFO, having been appointed to that position in 2012. Before that, he was the executive vice president and CFO of Cablevision, as well as serving on its board of directors. Huseby was also a global equity partner at Arthur Andersen, though hopefully nothing like the Enron accounting debacle will happen to Barnes & Noble.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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