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Posted on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 5:46 p.m.

Tobacco executive Bennett LeBow takes control of Borders Group

By Nathan Bomey

Tobacco executive Bennett LeBow, who invested $25 million in the company just weeks ago and became chairman, was named CEO of Borders Group Inc. today. He's the fourth CEO for the company in the last 18 months.

Mike Edwards, formerly interim president and CEO of Borders Group Inc., was named as CEO of Borders Inc., the company's main subsidiary, the company said today.

Edwards had assumed the job as CEO of Borders Group Inc. on an interim basis after Ron Marshall abruptly left the company in January to become CEO of Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. Since taking the position, Borders renegotiated its credit facility and paid off a critical $42.5 million loan to a New York hedge fund, giving the company some runway to try to reverse its revenue slide.

The company in early May received a $25 million investment from financier LeBow, who was subsequently named chairman of Borders' Board of Directors.

The firm, which employs about 650 workers at its Ann Arbor headquarters on Phoenix Drive, reported a $64.1 million net loss late last month for the quarter that ended May 1.

With continuing sales problems, Borders plans to "aggressively pursue lease buyouts" at its underperforming stores, chief financial officer Mark Bierley told analysts in a conference call last month. Borders declined to release additional details about its plans to cut some of its 686 stores, but said it would not be a substantial number.

Edwards, 50, joined Borders in September as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. He was previously CEO of Portland, Ore.-based Ellington Leather, a leather handbags and accessories wholesaler.

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Jay Thomas

Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

Practically growing up at the first Borders, I can only wish him well. I don't know that that's going to be enough money to do it, however. But at least he put his own money in unlike that previous CEO who bolted to Florida after looting the company with fifty million plus in compensation.

Nathan Bomey

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 7:42 p.m.

I've adjusted the story to reflect a correct of fact. Mike Edwards was appointed CEO of Borders Inc., the chief subsidiary of Borders Group Inc. Bennett LeBow, chairman of Borders Group Inc., was named CEO of Borders Group Inc. Edwards reports to LeBow. Sorry for the confusion!


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 5:35 p.m.

Edwards was named President and CEO of Borders, Inc. At the same time, LeBow was named CEO of Borders Group Inc (in addition to already being the Chairman of the Board and the Largest Shareholder). Edwards will report to LeBow.