Barnes & Noble ousts chief Ron Boire

Barnes & Noble Inc has ousted chief executive officer Ron Boire before he had completed a year on the job, saying he was not the right person to revamp a bookstore chain struggling to compete with Amazon.com Inc.

Management duties would be handed over 75-year-old Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio and other executives as the company scouts for a replacement.

The shake-up, would see Riggio postpone his retirement as executive chairman, the New York-based company said yesterday.

The departure throws up fresh troubles for the company struggling to meet the challenges from e-books and online rivals. Boire, a former Sears Canada Inc executive who became CEO in September of last year, had sought to revive growth by increasing the shelf space allotted to non-book merchandise like toys and games.

''The board of directors determined that Mr Boire was not a good fit for the organization and that it was in the interest of all parties for him to leave the company,'' Barnes & Noble said in a statement.

Barnes & Noble shares retreated 1 per cent to $13.38 in regular trading in New York, before the announcement of the news. Barnes & Noble had gained 54 per cent this year, boosted by optimism over its comeback.

At the time of Boire's hiring, Riggio said his experience, leadership ability and track record made him ''an ideal chief executive for Barnes & Noble.''

Riggio, who owns 17.8 per cent of Barnes & Noble's shares, takes over at a particularly difficult period for retail stores in general. Macy's Inc, for instance, earlier said it was closing 100 additional stores.

''It's worrisome,'' said one publishing executive, The Wall Street Journal reported, ''If things were going great at Barnes & Noble they wouldn't need to make a change in less than a year. Our business prays for their health.''