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New Hand on the Tiller?

As the ongoing saga of Barnes and Noble continues, there was a bit of a shake-up earlier this week: CEO Demos Parneros was fired on (apparently) no notice and got no severance.–noble-fires-ceo-demos-parneros.html

From the above article: “Barnes & Noble said Tuesday that it has fired CEO Demos Parneros for violating company policies.

“The company did not specify exactly which policies were violated. It did say, however, that Parneros’ termination ‘is not due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its financial reporting, policies or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto.’

“Parneros will not receive any severance and is no longer a director on its board, the company said in its statement. Barnes & Noble said it fired Parneros under the advice of its law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.”

Was it something like sexual harassment? Did he plan to short his stock in the company? Did he offend someone on the Board? Was he caught reading on a Kindle™ (h/t Patricia Sierra at the Passive Voice)? Yes? The Magic Eight-Ball is uncertain.

This probably won’t affect, or afflict, daily operations at B&N, but it is a reminder how fast the doors to the executive offices at big publishers and major book retailers can open and close.

  1. Draven #

    was he a decent CEO?

    July 5, 2018
    • Given the condition of B&N I would suspect not.

      July 5, 2018
      • Draven #

        well, that’s just as likely him leaving it the way he found it.

        July 5, 2018
        • That’s true, of course. But what one looks for in a CEO is the guy who will lead the company forward against all opposition, in any conditions. Clearly he’s either not that guy, or his team is torpedoing him.

          Or maybe he got #MeToo-ed. Plenty of that going around, both legitimate and shakedown.

          July 5, 2018
  2. Harry Russell #

    IMAO, You don’t fire someone who can afford attack lawyers (& presumably an ex-CEO & ex-Director can) with “No notice & no severance” unless you have reason to expect said lawyers won’t be unleashed, & a failure to unleash said lawyers looks the former employee even more guilty of *something*, suggesting they must have a really good(/bad) reason for not going there…

    I would say probably not sexual harassment, ‘cos there’s far to much virtue to be signaled by announcing you’ve fired a senior exec for running afoul of #metoo accusations & too much risk of an attempted coverup coming back to bite.

    July 5, 2018
  3. Even though the management team at B&N has changed, the meet in August with Alan, of the Texas Author Association is still on. So – B&N is still looking for answers on how they can better work with indy authors. Now, if they want to and will implement changes in time to do any good …

    July 5, 2018
    • I don’t foresee any changes in day-to-day or already planned events until after someone is hired to replace Parneros, given the lack of notice. Especially if it was a #MeToo accusation or something similar that had zero connection to the business.

      July 5, 2018
  4. BobtheRegisterredFool #

    Imagine convincing the social justice twitter warriors that the firing was due to racial animus.

    July 5, 2018
  5. The fact they aren’t putting an “interim” CEO in to replace him is interesting. Three, iirc, high execs — and Len Riggio — will be running things until they find a replacement. The three come from three different divisions of the company and Riggio has been the on-again/off-again CEO/COO of the company for years. So, will they continue with the changes Parneros put into play or fall back to ways that quit working years ago.

    July 5, 2018
  6. TRX #

    I was vaguely surprised, mostly because at that level executives have contracts ranging from one to several years. Depending on what state they’re technically employed in, it may be almost impossible to actually fire them, so they’re usually just disempowered by routing decision-making around them until their contract is up.

    Anything criminal would usually have to be revealed to the shareholders. For ordinary sexual harassment most modern companies would spin positive #metoo and ride the virtue for all it was worth. Same for almost anything, really.

    Whatever it is, it’s likely too juicy to keep under wraps for long. Not that anyone really cares, given it’s B&N…

    July 5, 2018
  7. When I was at Microsoft, they fired a VP once because he got drunk and sexually harassed a customer at an industry event. (She was a VP from another company.) The official announcement merely said that “We have discovered that his values are not our values.” It took less than 24 hours.

    July 5, 2018
  8. Y’a know, it might be interesting to give the CEO (and other high-level managers) a physical tiller to remind them that there are consequences to the actions they are taking. Here, put your hand on the tiller, and steer the ship by the stars and the sun… gives a little more concrete feeling to being in that position, don’t you think?

    July 5, 2018
    • But then you find out that the CEO is a psychopath who doesn’t mind running the boat up on the rocks, crew, passengers and all, as long as he’s gettin’ paid.

      July 6, 2018

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