William Lynch resigned on Monday from his post as the CEO of Barnes & Noble, following months of plummeting sales of the digital Nook division, the signature piece of Lynch's push to bring Barnes & Noble into an e-future. The resignation is one of many signs that the company is changing tack yet again, after an aggressive move into the crowded field of digital sales failed to pay off in the end.
Lynch, who gave no reason for his resignation, led the company's web division until getting the CEO job in 2010. At the time, his entrance into the role read as abrupt, but clear shift in direction for the company. And while his exit is no surprise given the struggling company's decision to stop producing the Nook readers in-house, it, too, is sudden, in a way: Lynch is no longer CEO, effective immediately.
The company made a good handful of leadership reshuffles to accomodate the resignation. As for who gets top billing now at the company, Michael Huseby is now CEO of Nook media, and president of Barnes & Noble. Huseby was formerly the Chief Financial Officer for the company. Allen Lindstrom will take over as CFO in Huseby's place.
Last quarter, the company reported a 34 percent drop in Nook and e-book sales, with an outlook that wasn't much better for revenue from the company's brick-and-mortar stores after the damage from Nook sales more or less demolished the in-store profits. The company's partial retreat from that sector hasn't been matched with a strong, new direction. But the next leader of the company's background is financial, underlining, at least, Barnes & Noble's current top short-term priority.