Hutchings to leave Blackwell

Hutchings to leave Blackwell

Blackwell c.e.o. Andrew Hutchings has been made redundant as part of an "internal team restructure" at the company.

The academic bookseller is dispensing with the role of c.e.o. to continue its intentions to increase "local ownership and customer service" across its stores.

Instead the company has separated its library supply and bookshop operations into two separate "business units", which will be lead by different managing directors.

Hutchings will take control of the library supply division for an interim period until a new m.d is appointed.

He has given 23 years of service to Blackwell, spending the last three in the chief executive role. Blackwell chairman Trevor Goul-Wheeker said the redundancy of Hutchings' position was "mutually agreed."

He told The Bookseller: "This is a structure that Andrew and the management team proposed. He doesn't see the need for a c.e.o, it makes sense to have separate business units that are really focussed on the customer. It is a mature decision." He added Hutchings wanted to move to a role outside the industry.

David Prescott, formerly business development director for Blackwell, will be m.d of the bookstore and online business unit. Prescott said he was looking forward to helping the company back to profitability in his new role. He said: "I am delighted to have been given the opportunity by Toby Blackwell and the Board to take the business forwards on the next phase of our decentralisation programme.

"Over the coming months we will continue to focus on delivering profitability through a framework which encourages local decision making and ownership by our booksellers."

In streamlining the business, Blackwell last year sold its Australian and North American library supply business to YBP Library Services, a division of Baker & Taylor Inc, and focused on its retail and library operation in the UK and Europe.

Goul-Wheeker said further reorganisation of the library supply team will be announced next month. "The details are currently under negotiation but further redundancies cannot be ruled out," he said.

Last month, the bookseller announced it had nearly halved its operating losses to £5.6m and expected to become profitable in the next two years. When that happens, it plans to offer its employees a stake in the business through a partnership scheme, to incentivise them to help continue Blackwell's success.