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Posted on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

Borders CFO Mark Bierley resigns in latest change for Ann Arbor bookstore chain

By Nathan Bomey

Borders Group Inc.'s chief financial officer is resigning, the Ann Arbor-based bookstore chain said.

CFO Mark Bierley is resigning "to pursue another employment opportunity," Borders said. It's the latest in a series of leadership changes for the financially challenged firm, which has had four chief executives in less than two years.

Glen Tomaszewski, a Borders vice president with 12 years of experience at the company, will serve as interim CFO, officials said.

"We are highly committed to driving the top line at Borders Group, while continuing to prudently manage expenses," said Mike Edwards, CEO of Borders Group subsidiary Borders Inc., in a statement. "As we conduct our search for a new CFO, I will work closely with Glen on carrying out our financial priorities, including maximizing the profitability of our stores and increasing the efficiency of our supply chain."

The change comes less than two weeks after Borders acknowledged conducting more layoffs at its Ann Arbor headquarters. The company, which had 650 employees at its headquarters on Phoenix Drive in Ann Arbor, recently said it would no longer discuss how many employees work here.

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Wed, Aug 25, 2010 : 10:11 a.m.

@ DonBee, I didn't say gone for good. Rather, I think, bookstores will be like clothing shops, no longer the primary resource for avid readers, students, etc. since brick and mortar cannot stores cannot compete with online shops. Case in point, Shaman Drum. A sad fact.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 1:09 p.m.

@Stephen Lands. I don't know. They've laid off most of their employees and the ones who are left might be too busy to answer.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 1:03 p.m.

@DonBee, Actually, with Barnes & Noble's nook, you can highlight and take notes. With the airplane mode enabled, you can read it while taking off and landing. I work & B&N, and often man the nook counter... while none of us want to see traditional books disappear, electronic reading is the wave of the future (considering the positive impact on the environment with less usage of trees, fuel consumption with distribution, etc.). As far as bookstores disappearing, today's news had an item on B&N's quarterly sales... up 21%. People are still buying books in brick and mortar stores.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 12:43 p.m.

....repeating an earlier comment (sorry but appropriate) This is exactly like the Blockbuster Video story of a few weeks ago. Borders, like Blockbuster was innovative. Their rapid growth the result of their novel software system for cataloging books. Then like Blockbuster, they got complacent. NetFlix has all but killed Blockbuster and Amazon, Apple and even Barnes and Noble(!!) is just about to suck the last breath out of Borders. It's too late to do anything; a parade of CEO's embarking on the predictable path of acquisition and then cost cutting through divesting those same acquisitions at fire sale prices. Oh yeah...then they got rewarded with huge buyouts. Anyone surprised about the demise of Borders is nostalgic and hasn't been paying attention. It should be a cautionary M.B.A. class showing what WILL happen when breakneck acquisition replaces innovation and creativity.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

All Borders has to do is answer the question "what can a bricks and mortar book store do that an online book store can't" and then maximize whatever they decide that is. Sure, I have a few ideas and I'll be their employees do, too. All management has to do is ASK THEM.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

@Rasputin - I respectfully disagree. I think bookstores will be around for a very long time. You cannot take notes in electronic books, you cannot read electronic books on take off and landing, reading electronic books in the bath is not a good idea. In short electronic books, while handy, are not going to replace traditional books. I have both and like both for their own reasons. Book stores will have to change. There will be fewer of them and they will have to amp up the service. I hope someone buys the downtown location and keeps it running in Ann Arbor, it is a lovely place to spend an evening and come home with a few weeks reading. @a2scio - I have been around long enough, I still consider Borders to be a local store. I like Nicola's and appreciate it and the staff.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 9:54 a.m.

There is always Nicola's Books at Westgate with knowledgeable employees and is locally owned. (I am not connected to the store in any way, except as a person who shops there.)

Happy Puppy

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

Today is a big kid's book day - Mockingjay comes out. I checked the Borders website - Washtenaw location opens at 9. Got there early along with about 10-12 others. Sign on the door says 9am. At 8:59 a guy comes out and says 'sorry new hours we don't open until 10, you can come back then'. He actually told some people to go to Starbucks to have a coffee and wait. Everyone left and probably went less than a mile up the road to B&N to get their book. I got it at Target. Bad business practices Borders!


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 8:01 a.m.

Oh Borders....pack it up, pack it are done. Another top guy leaving the chain...surprise surprise...They won't have enough cash to last through the holiday...don't be surprised to see a "fire sale" in January...I might actually be able to afford to buy something there if that happens....


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 7:28 a.m.

The CFO of an organization is typically its oganization's "scorekeeper", while the company's attorneys are the "referees". Thy "why" of Bierley's departure is not indicated or important, but in many cases the abrupt departure of a CFO indicates a breakdown in financial controls within the organization. When a company is struggling to remain viable, strict financial controls and restraints are imperative.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 6:51 a.m.

No offense, but the days of the traditional bookstore are gone. Bookstores hence forth will take on the role of little antique shops. For the first time this year, digital book files have surpassed hardcover sales online. This event spells certain doom for physical books as we knew them and the trend is only growing. Border's missed all of this...


Mon, Aug 23, 2010 : 10:59 p.m.

You know, I really miss the old store on State street. It didn't have the fancy coffee or media section, but it had incredibly knowledgable staff who lived and breathed books. Few things in life are as comforting as walking into a bookstore with thousands of books waiting to be perused. I hope it won't come to buying books exclusively online. Yuck.


Mon, Aug 23, 2010 : 10:41 p.m.

Does any one out there think Borders will make it to the end of the year?? Looks like rats leaving a sinking ship!

Paul Taylor

Mon, Aug 23, 2010 : 7:50 p.m.

Last one out, turn off the lights!