Asda chief joins new Waterstone's team

<p>Fiona Ramsay</p><p>Asda's Toby Bourne is to take up the new role of fiction and children's category manager at Waterstone's. The move comes as Waterstone's restructures its product, commercial, marketing and range teams to implement a category-based buying approach.</p><p>Bourne's non-fiction counterpart will be Fiona Kennedy, formerly commercial manager at the chain. Both category managers will report to a commercial director, currently being recruited.</p><p>The new structure will add weight to Waterstone's, following the departure of product director David Roche, buying manager Scott Pack and key buyers Suzie Door&eacute; and Jenny Heller in the past year.</p><p>Bourne effectively takes on the role formerly undertaken by Pack, who is joining publisher The Friday Project. Bourne joined Asda in 2003 from W&nbsp;H Smith, and as Asda's buying manager for books, news and magazines he has been credited with introducing a children's chart and expanding adult ranges.</p><p>Waterstone's m.d. Gerry Johnson said: "Toby is through and through a book man. He is quite a rare person in that he has experience of all aspects of the book trade, from publishing to book clubs to retail. His experience of category management techniques are particularly relevant." He will join Waterstone's at the end of the summer.</p><p>Caroline Mileham, who was expected to take up the fiction buying manager position reporting to Bourne, handed in her resignation this week. It is believed that she has secured a position with Borders.</p><p>In non-fiction, Fiona Kennedy will oversee leisure and entertainment buying manager David Plummer and education buying manager Gareth Hardy. A culture and interests buying manager is to be appointed.</p><p>Rodney Troubridge, previously fiction buyer, has become part of the marketing team as fiction planner. Peter Saxton, who was non-fiction buyer since August 2005, has become biography and art buyer.</p><p>Previously the chain had separate product, commercial and range teams. Johnson said the restructure was designed to "bring together all the roles relating to a given genre into one team". He said: "Now everything from campaigns to range for a category will be under the control of one person. The downside is that publishers will be dealing with a different person for each different category, but there will be more accountability."</p><p>The buying team would be better focused on developing sales and strengthening Waterstone's relationships with suppliers, he added. "They need the authority to make decisions for the areas they are responsible for without having to constantly seek approval from other areas of the business." Each category contact will have responsibility for negotiating promotional and base terms with publishers.</p><p>Johnson said the stores would see benefits in the "longer term", as booksellers would have more involvement in the development of genres and "fewer restrictions" imposed on branch buying.</p><p>Nick Hudson will oversee systems and space, and will continue to roll out Waterstone's space planning project to 24 stores next month. </p><p>* Waterstone's parent HMV is expected to send out its offer document to Ottakar's shareholders at the end of this week or the beginning of next. City analysts predicted that all of Ottakar's major shareholders would accept HMV's 285p per share offer.</p>