A new year is bringing a change of leadership at one of the country’s biggest distributors of books and entertainment products. Distribution company Baker & Taylor (B&T) has appointed executive George Coe to head the company as its new CEO. Coe succeeds CEO Arnie Wight, who stepped down earlier this week, the company announced in a statement today.
The new name at the top will likely be a familiar one to librarians. Coe has served as President of B&T’s Library & Education division since 2000. Prior to his work with B&T, Coe was Vice President and General Manager of the Library Automation and K-12 software arms of Brodart Books. Coe has been a key player in the development of the B&T’s digital media platforms, including its Axis 360 ebook distribution service.
Coe emphasized the importance of ebooks and digital distribution to the company’s plans for the future in a 2011 interview with The Digital Shift. “Baker & Taylor’s role is central to the accelerating shift to digital,” Coe said. “We continue to innovate and expand the universe of publication data and the collection development programs and services that our libraries rely on us to provide.”
Coe expressed excitement at moving into the CEO position. “I look forward to working with our excellent team to continue to enhance Baker & Taylor’s innovative solutions for our retail, library and education customers.” Coe said in a statement. “I am proud to lead Baker & Taylor at a time when exciting changes are taking place in all of the markets we serve.”
The transition marks Wight’s official retirement, but won’t be the conclusion of his 34 year career with the company, where he was appointed CEO in 2008. Following his retirement, Wight will remain active within B&T as a Non-Executive Chairman of the Board and consultant to the company.