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Barnes & Noble names head of Nook business as chief executive of the struggling book seller

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Book seller Barnes & Noble has promoted the head of its Nook business to chief executive of company.

The struggling retailer said Wednesday Michael Huseby, 59, will take the role immediately. The post has been vacant since July when CEO William Lynch left the company.

It comes after the busy holiday season that can account for up to 40 per cent of a retailer's sales. Barnes & Noble will release holiday sales figures on Thursday.

Huseby will take the helm of the New York company as it struggles to turn around results in the face of tough competition and a book market that is shifting to digital books. The company is also dealing with an accounting probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In its most recent fiscal second quarter ended Oct. 26, the company returned to a profit, helped by cost cuts, but revenue fell 8 per cent declining across all segments.

The SEC told the bookseller Oct. 16 that it was investigating the company's restatement of earnings announced in July as well as an employee allegation that it improperly allocated some information-technology expenses between its Nook and retail segments. Barnes & Noble Inc. began reporting its Nook business sales separately from its retail business in late 2012 as it evaluated ways to become more profitable.

Huseby joined Barnes & Noble as CFO in 2012 and was promoted to president of the company and CEO of Nook Media in 2013. Before joining Barnes & Noble he was CFO of cable company Cablevision Systems Corp.

Barnes & Noble shares rose 26 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $15.01 in midday trading.

The Canadian Press

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