Barnes & Noble picks up new chief digital officer ahead of company breakup

Fred Argir will lead the bookseller's e-commerce and Nook businesses.


Barnes & Noble has named a new chief digital officer to lead its e-commerce and Nook businesses as the company's reorganization plans start to take shape.

Touted as an "accomplished e-commerce and ommichannel leader," newly minted CDO Fred Argir joins Barnes & Noble by way of Toys 'R' Us, where he served in the same role. His appointment follows a string of leadership changes at Barnes & Noble over the last few months.

Earlier this year Barnes & Noble announced that it would separate its Nook and retail segments from its education business to form two publicly traded companies, with former Sears executive Ronald Boire leading Barnes & Noble Retail and previous CEO Michael Huseby moving to a seat on the board of directors for Barnes & Noble Education.

While its education business is healthy, with about 650 stores across college campuses in the US, the company's Nook business continues to decline. In its most recent earnings report, the bookseller revealed that Nook revenue dropped 40 percent during the fiscal fourth quarter and 47 percent for the fiscal year. Overall, Barnes & Noble said sales dropped more than 10 percent.

Like so many other corporate divorces these days, Barnes & Noble hopes splitting into two companies will allow each business to independently focus on growth. Originally the company intended to spin off Nook Digital Media alongside the education business, but that plan was eventually scrapped.

The separation is expected to be complete by the end of August.