Barnes & Noble Bookstores Get New Chief Executive: Ronald Boire

Barnes & Noble has hired a new chief executive.

Barnes & Noble is best known for its books, but the stores sell everything from board games to collector’s items to gift items. Despite the company’s wide variety of wares, they haven’t been doing very well.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Barnes & Noble “reported an Ebitda loss of $86.3 million on a 47.8% revenue decline for the fiscal year ended May 2.” Much of that decline had to do with their Nook.

In the competitive tablet market, the Nook doesn’t seem capable of matching up to Amazon’s Kindle.

In an effort to try to turn their business around, Barnes & Noble hired Ronald Boire as the new chief executive.

Boire has no experience in books, but he has a significant background in retail and electronics. He currently works as an executive with Sears Canada Inc. In the past, he’s done similar work with Best Buy Co., Brookstone Inc., and Toys “R” Us Inc.

“They wanted a retailer, not a book guy,” Maxim Group analyst, John Tinker, said. “They will never beat Amazon online. They need to make the stores work, to make them entertaining.”

One of the methods Barnes & Noble has been working on to fix their numbers is to separate their college bookstore division into a new company called Barnes & Noble Education. The company will be publicly traded.

“Over the last year, management was focused on the coming spinoff, the Nook, and unwinding investments by Microsoft and Pearson,” said Rick Schottenfeld, Barnes & Noble investor and chairman of Schottenfeld Group Holdings L.P. “Now they need to focus on improving the store experience, making them more efficient, and returning cash to shareholders.”

Almost all of the aforementioned businesses that Ronald Boire worked for had money problems before he was hired. For each of the companies he was able to, at least temporarily, stabilize their earnings, either from revamping their websites or working on their mobile products.

Leonard Riggio, chairman and founder of Barnes & Noble, issued a statement about Boire.

“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.”

Boire will step into his new Barnes & Noble position on September 8. Current chief executive Michael Huseby will become executive chairman to the new college book spin-off company.

[Image courtesy of Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]