Barnes and Noble has just picked up a new overall CEO. Or at least a new-old one. Digital Book World and Publishers Weekly report that B&N has moved Michael Huseby, former CEO of the Nook division, into the top CEO spot left by William Lynch who vacated in July. Huseby said in a statement in the press release:

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.

That being said, the CEO slot of the Nook division Huseby is vacating will remain vacant, according to a B&N spokesperson. Which sort of makes you wonder.

Among the things it makes me wonder is how much of the failure of the Nook division can be laid at Huseby’s doorstep, and how much at the departed Lynch’s? Was Lynch holding Huseby back, and now we’ll see a resurgence of B&N’s electronic division? (It does seem like an odd choice to promote the head of the least successful division of the corporation to run the whole thing.) Or are they getting ready to toss the Nook ballast from their corporate balloon (or the Nook baby from the back of the sleigh, depending on your metaphor of choice) and hope that the rest of the company can survive better without it?

In any event, I imagine he couldn’t do any worse for the company than it has been doing so far. I imagine publishers everywhere are crossing their fingers and hoping he can save it.


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