Barnes & Noble books new board member

Barnes & Noble named Tulane University president Scott Cowen to its board a after a major shareholder disclosed it was dumping 90% of its stake in the company and relinquishing a seat on the board of directors.

Cowen serves as president of Tulane University in New Orleans and also holds the titles of Seymour S. Goodman Memorial Professor of Business in Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business and Professor of Economics in the School of Liberal Arts.

“We could not be more pleased to welcome president Cowen to our board,” said Barnes & Noble board chairman Leonard Riggio. “He brings a broad range of experience to the board on the educational front as well as substantial experience having served on both public and private company boards.”

Cowen joined Tulane in 1998 and also serves on the boards of Newell Rubbermaid and Forest City Enterprises.

His appointment follows a prior disclosure from major Barnes & Noble shareholder Liberty Media Corp. that it plans to reduce its stake in the company to approximately 10% of its initial investment. As a result, the company was no longer entitled to elect two directors to the board. Accordingly, Liberty president and CEO Greg Maffei will leave the board on April 8 while fellow Liberty appointee Mark Carleton will remain on the board.

“By reducing our preferred position and eliminating some of our related rights, Barnes & Noble will gain greater flexibility to accomplish their strategic objectives,” said Maffei. “We look forward to maintaining our relationship with the company and are pleased that Mark Carleton will continue serving on the board. Mike Huseby and his team are doing a great job in the retail, college and NOOK spaces.”

“Liberty Media has been a strong supporter of the company and Greg Maffei and Mark Carleton have been and continue to be tremendous partners at an important time in the company’s history,” said Barnes & Noble’s Riggio. “Liberty’s decision to retain a portion of its investment and have active involvement on our board underscores Liberty’s ongoing commitment to Barnes & Noble.”

Riggio said Liberty’s reduced ownership also gives the Company greater flexibility to pursue various strategic options.

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