Borders new CEO culls corporate staff

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Borders new CEO isn't wasting any time shaking things up at the struggling multichannel bookseller, announcing the elimination of 16 corporate positions.


“Streamlining our leadership and eliminating management layers will help us be more agile and at the same time advance us toward our expense reduction goals,” said Ron Marshall, CEO at Borders Group, in a statement. Marshall has previous experience turning around retail entities such as Nash Finch and Pathmark Stores. He replaced previous Borders Group president and CEO George Jones earlier this month.


Last summer, the company eliminated 274 corporate positions as part of an aggressive plan to reduce annual expenses by $120 million and improve the company's bottom line.


Borders recently reported consolidated sales totaled $868.8 million for the nine-week holiday period ended January 3, an 11.7% decline compared to the same period last year.


In the latest round of cutbacks, the majority of the positions are based at the company's headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI, and at the vice president and director levels.


One of the roles that has been eliminated is the position of senior vice president, e-business, which was held by Kevin Ertell. Borders, which launched its first stand alone e-commerce in years in the fall, is consolidating its online businesses under Rich Fahle, who is now VP,


Borders also has eliminated the role of EVP of US Stores, which was held by Ken Armstrong. Steve Davis, SVP of Borders Group Operations, will take on the leadership role of the store operations group.


The post of SVP and chief information officer, held by Susan Harwood, also has been eliminated. The company recently shifted information technology under the leadership of Dan Smith, chief administrative officer.


Other positions being eliminated include: VP, real estate; VP, human resource services and VP, creative. In addition, Fred Boehler, SVP, logistics, has announced he is leaving the company.


Ten other eliminated positions include directors of sales; and director posts at Waldenbooks specialty retail regional, Paperchase gifts and stationery, merchandise strategy, merchandise planning and replenishment and national event marketing.


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