Borders CEO Out as Chain Overhauls Management

Ann Arbor, Mich. Borders Group announced Monday that chief executive George Jones will leave the company as part of a management change to more aggressively drive a turnaround of the company within today's challenging economic environment.

The company named Ron Marshall, 54, as Jones' replacement. Marshall, who recently served as principal of private-equity firm Wildridge Capital Management, will also serve as president and as a board member. Prior to founding Wildridge Capital, he was CEO of Nash Finch Co., a $5 billion food distribution and retail organization.

"Progress has been made by Borders Group over recent quarters within the challenging economy to reduce debt, improve cash flow, cut expenses, enhance inventory productivity and improve margins, but it is imperative that the company more aggressively attack these initiatives to address its long-term future," said Borders Group board of directors chairman Larry Pollock. "We are confident that Ron Marshall, with his strong financial and turnaround expertise, vast retail experience and specific bookstore background, is the right choice to lead a new management team and boldly take these efforts to the next level."

In addition, the company named Mark Bierley as CFO and executive VP of finance to replace Ed Wilhelm, who will stay during a transition period.

Also, Anne Kubek has been appointed executive VP, merchandising and marketing. In that position, she replaces Rob Gruen, who is leaving Borders Group after approximately two years. Kubek has been with the company since 1990.

In other news, Borders said same-store sales at its superstores fell 14.4% during the holiday season compared to the same period in 2007. The group's total consolidated sales were $868.8 million, an 11.7% decline during the nine weeks ended Jan. 3 from the year before. Total sales for just the Borders superstore segment were $652.6 million, a 13.6% decrease.