UPDATE: On October 14, 2020, former CEO Demos Parneros and Barnes & Noble have amicably settled all claims regarding his termination in 2018. This matter has been resolved with no judicial determination of wrongdoing. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) CEO Demos Parneros was terminated, which means he was not allowed, for some unknown reason, the dignity of resignation. It is one more in a line of calamities which have continued to eat away at the book retailer. It may not matter who the CEO is if the Barnes & Noble business model cannot be successfully altered, which seems impossible.
The company announced:
The Board of Directors of Barnes & Noble, Inc. today announced the termination of its Chief Executive Officer, Demos Parneros, for violations of the Company’s policies. This action was taken by the Company’s Board of Directors who were advised by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Mr. Parneros’ termination is not due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its financial reporting, policies or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto. Mr. Parneros will not receive any severance payment and he is no longer a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.
In order to ensure continuity going forward, the Company has appointed a leadership group to share the duties of the office of the CEO until a new leader is named. Those appointed include: Allen Lindstrom, Chief Financial Officer, Tim Mantel, Chief Merchandising Officer and Carl Hauch, Vice President, Stores. Leonard Riggio remains Executive Chairman of the Company and will be involved in its management.
Riggio is the de facto founder of the company, having expanded it from a single store starting in 1971. Riggio has presided over much of the rise of Barnes & Noble and also its demise. He and his board have been unable to ward off the rise of e-commerce, particularly Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN)
“Company policy”? People outside the board and a small group of advisors may never know what that is. However, Parneros may have gotten out just in time
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