Activist Investor Burkle Pushes New CEO on Barnes & Noble

March 18, 2010

Activist Investor Ron Burkle, a major investor in Barnes & Noble (BKS) NYSE, has been pressuring Barnes & Noble’s board for some time.  A few weeks back, Burkle accused B&N’s board of protecting the controlling family’s interests in the company after he tried unsuccessfully to increase his share in the company.  Burkle has been viewed by the board and many others as workSteven Riggioing to take over the struggling book retailer.  Today, shortly after the latest major dust up with Burkle,  the firm announced that William Lynch would succeed Steven Riggio as CEO.  Riggio, who is a member of the controlling family, after he leaves his CEO position will remain as the vice chairman of the firm.  The company’s press release stated Riggio would remain actively involved in the company.

Lynch, who has run the firm’s ecommerce business, has been viewed as the person responsible for launching B&N’s eReader the Nook which has been intended to compete with Amazon’s Kindle and now Apples iPad.  Besides the promotion of Lynch, the company also announced that the firm’s chief operatiWilliam Lynchng officer, Mitchell Klipper, would be promoted to CEO of the firm’s retail group.

Most analysts will likely view the latest moves as way to thwart further attempts by Burkle to get his way with the firm.  There is no way this recent move puts an end to the drama playing out behind the scenes for control of the firm.  In addition to Burkle, another activist investment firm recently bought a large portion of the firm as well.  One Year Stock Performance of Barnes & Noble

Stay tuned.