C-SUITE

Fireworks at Barnes & Noble as bookseller fires back at suit filed by ex-CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

The recently-fired chief executive of Barnes & Noble is not going “gently into that good night.” And neither is the bookseller.

Demos Parneros, who was terminated for “violations of the company’s policies,” has filed a lawsuit accusing Leonard Riggio, founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble, for engineering his “firing without cause” and for “falsely and irrevocably’ damaging his reputation. The bookseller announced Parneros’ termination in a July 3 press release statement in which it said the firing was not due to any disagreement regarding its financial reporting, policies or practices or any potential fraud, and that he would not receive severance pay.

In his complaint, Parneros said Riggio had told him a day before the announcement that he would be “fired for cause for violating the sexual harassment policy,” citing his alleged “interactions with an executive assistant and purported mistreatment” of company CFO Allen Lindstrom, reported Reuters.

Parneros said he has not violated company policies, and “always conducted himself in a professional manner.”

Barnes & Noble fired back at Parneros’ claims with a statement that called his lawsuit “nothing but an attempt to extort money from the company by a CEO who was terminated for sexual harassment, bullying behavior and other violations of company policies after being in the role for approximately one year.” It called the allegations in the complaint about Riggio as being filled with “lies and mischaracterizations.”

“For more than 50 years, since founding Barnes & Noble, Mr. Riggio is widely known amongst his business associates, colleagues and employees for his impeccable reputation and as an individual and leader that upholds the highest standards of integrity and decency,” the statement read. “Mr. Parneros’ actions were unacceptable and not representative of the high standards by which Barnes & Noble operates.”

Parneros was tapped as CEO of the struggling bookstore chain in April 2017, the chain’s fourth CEO in four years. Prior to joining Barnes & Noble as COO in 2016, he was president of North American stores & online for Staples.

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Shoe Carnival taps CPG marketing vet for exec position

BY Marianne Wilson

Shoe Carnival has added a new title to its c-suite.

The footwear retailer announced the appointment of Mark Worden, to the newly created role of executive VP, chief strategy and marketing officer, effective Sept. 10.

Worden brings with him with 23 years of brand management, marketing and general and executive management experience.

Most recently, Worden led the Northern European region for SC Johnson and was responsible for revenue and share growth objectives across six countries. Previously, he was assistant to the chairman and CEO of SC Johnson as well as a senior marketing director.

“We believe Mark’s leadership and deep insight into marketing and brand-building will help us as we continue on our road to improve, innovate and enhance customer engagement and experience,” said Cliff Sifford, president and CEO, Shoe Carnival, which operates 402 stores in 35 states and Puerto Rico.

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L Brands vet, leader of Pink, to retire

BY Marianne Wilson

The woman who helped build L Brands’ Victoria’s Secret Pink into a nearly $3 billion brand is stepping down.

Denise Landman, CEO of Victoria’s Secret Pink, has made the decision to retire at the end of this year after some 20 years at L Brands. She will be succeeded by Amy Hauk, currently president for merchandising and product development of L Brands’ Bath & Body Works unit.

Hauk joined Bath & Body Works in 2008 as senior VP, general merchandise manager. Prior to that, she held senior merchant leadership positions at The Children’s Place, The Disney Store, Gap, and Macy’s. Landman will remain in the business through the end of the year to onboard Hauk and facilitate the transition.

“I’m grateful to Denise for leading the growth of the PINK business and building such a strong high-performance team,” said Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and CEO, L Brands. “Denise has always been a curious student of the business, focused on the customer and driven by her entrepreneurial spirit.”

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