Andrew AlbaneseOver a half century of business transformation and reinvention, one figure has persisted in the book trade. Len Riggio, the founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble, built a bookselling empire that remains the nation’s largest – even if it also the last of its kind. This week, the 75-year-old Riggio announced the next step in his long career.

“Riggio has led the company since its inception in 1965,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “He told PW that he has done everything he wanted to do in business, and that he is now looking to focus on his ‘philanthropic and social’ interests.”

Paul B. Guenther, former president of Paine Webber and a B&N board member since 2015, has been named by the board as non-executive chairman; Ron Boire, B&N’s CEO, will report to the board. Riggio expects to step down in September.

“Despite the many challenges B&N faces, Riggio remains confident that the company can continue to be a major force in bookselling,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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