After just a year, Borders CEO quits

Bloomberg News / January 27, 2010

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ATLANTA - Borders Group Inc., the unprofitable US bookstore chain, said Ron Marshall resigned as chief executive and director after about a year on the job.

Marshall will be named chief executive of Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., a grocer, The Wall Street Journal reported without saying where it got the information. Michael J. Edwards, who was made chief merchandising officer in September, will act as interim chief executive, Borders said. The board hired Korn/Ferry International to help find a permanent chief executive.

Borders, which last reported an annual profit in 2006, has seen revenue drop for the past three years as consumers spent less on books and nonessential items amid declining home values and rising unemployment. Marshall, seeking to stem those declines, said last month that the retailer will start selling digital books this year.

Marshall was named Borders chief executive on Jan. 5, 2009. About a week later, the retailer named Richard McGuire, a partner at Pershing Square Capital Management LP, chairman. Pershing Square, a hedge fund run by investor William Ackman, is Borders’ largest investor.

Marshall headed private-equity firm Wildridge Capital Management for three years after running Nash Finch Co., a food wholesaler, from 1998 to 2006. Prior to his time at Nash Finch, Marshall was chief financial officer of Pathmark Stores Inc., which was acquired by A&P in 2007.

A Borders spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment. An A&P spokeswoman declined to comment.