Jan 14, 2009

Borders: A Slightly Premature Elegy

So I used to work at Borders. Two stints, in fact. One at the old mothership on State Street in Ann Arbor, and a second nine years later at the Framingham, MA, store. Both are now gone, and by the looks of things, Borders itself might not last too much longer. I'm thinking of this because of an article in the NYT today, noting the appointment of a hedge fund manager as company chairman.
The appointment of the executive, Richard McGuire, to replace Larry Pollock as chairman would occur a week after Borders named Ron Marshall, a private equity executive with corporate turnaround experience, as its chief executive.

I think it's worth noting that in 1991, when Borders sold books and was run by people who knew books (you had to take a test to get hired), the company was healthy. It was also a great place to work (so of course I lipped off to the wrong guy and was considerately allowed to leave without anyone saying I was getting fired). Now, when you can hardly see the books in a Borders because they're buried under piles of stuffed animals and crinkly packages of chocolate, and when the company is run by "private equity executives" and hedge fund managers, it's about to die. (Well, maybe.) It's also a very different place to work. I hope the company survives, because more bookstores is a good thing and also because I still have a sentimental attachment.

What must Joe Gable think about all of this?
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