The largest U.S. bookstore chain had been without a CEO since July,
when William Lynch resigned in the wake of several quarters of poor
sales of Barnes & Noble's Nook e-readers and e-books business, which
he developed. Last quarter, Nook division sales fell 32 percent,
continuing the decline.
Huseby joined Barnes & Noble as finance chief in March 2012 and was
made head of its Nook digital unit last summer.
The selection of Huseby "shows tech still a priority," said Barclays
Capital analyst Alan Rifkin in the headline of a research note.
In November, he told investors that Barnes & Noble was in the device
business "to stay," although the company had suggested in June it
would scale back its digital business.
The company is facing declining sales in all its units, in its Nook
business, its superstores and at its college stores, and Huseby has
his work cut out for him, Rifkin said.
"We remain concerned around material same-store sales declines in
the Retail segment, volatility in the College segment and
significant losses in the NOOK segment," Rifkin wrote.
In November, Barnes & Noble estimated it had a 20 percent share of
the U.S. e-books market, compared with about 27 percent in February.
Two year ago, Barnes & Noble floated the idea of splitting the
company, with one entity for its digital and college business and
the other for retail. The retailer abandoned those plans in August
and Chairman and founder Leonard Riggio decided not to make an offer
for the retail business, an idea he floated in February 2013.
[to top of second column]
Huseby has experience in spinning off businesses and overseeing
mergers. Earlier in his career, he worked at AT&T Broadband and led
the team that completed its merger with Comcast in 2002, and he spun
off two businesses at Cablevision, where he was chief financial
officer from 2004 to 2011.
At the time of his hiring, Barnes & Noble touted Huseby's
The bookseller is set to report its holiday sales on Thursday.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York;
editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Andre Grenon)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.