Tony Nash, co-founder and CEO of Australia’s largest online book retailer Booktopia, has stepped down to focus “solely” on growth.
His decision to step aside from the CEO’s role comes at a time when the company has reported indifferent financial performance. Booktopia’s third-quarter operating profit slipped 63% on year to $5.5 million.
"We are still growing, we are profitable. We have cash. I have always been the Chief Growth Officer as well as the CEO. Now I can focus solely on Growth and leave the day-to-day management to the CEO. It is good to be at [a] stage where we do that," Nash said in a LinkedIn post to People Matters.
Earlier, People Matters had reported, citing media reports, that Nash had quit in response to poor business results.
“I didn't resign. I recommended to the Board that we hire a CEO. I am an entrepreneur. I built Booktopia from zero to $240m from a $10 note. Over 18 years. In an industry that people said was dead or that Amazon would annihilate us,” he clarified.
Nash will continue as CEO until a replacement is found. He will continue as a full-time senior executive and Director and will focus exclusively on growth.
Nash believes his decision is in the business's best interests and will allow the company to balance the demands of complex operations whilst remaining a high growth business.
“Building Booktopia from a budget of just $10 a day in 2004 into Australia’s leading online book retailer has been an incredibly rewarding journey. As an entrepreneur, my natural talent is making the invisible visible. I look forward to continuing to find ways to grow the business while handing over the duties that come with being the CEO of a larger and listed entity. It's time to hand over the leadership reins to someone who is more capable than me at that job description. I am genuinely looking forward to working with, and for, the new CEO.”
Booktopia Chairman Chris Beare said Nash’s decision to take on a new role in the business reflected his commitment to Booktopia and the desire to see the company reach its full potential.
“Tony has an unyielding commitment to Booktopia, its staff and customers, and he has demonstrated this over the last two decades. We look forward to his enthusiasm continuing to drive the company forward in his new position,” Beare added.
Although the third quarter saw many COVID restrictions lifted, Booktopia faced a range of challenges with its distribution centre, with the higher cost base experienced in the first half continuing into the second half.
“All major and pureplay e-commerce retailers continue to invest heavily in their online offerings in anticipation that online sales will continue to grow over the next several years,” Nash said.
Prompted by the pandemic, Booktopia’s long-term focus has adopted a heavy element of online sales. However, the board believes it needs to reassess its cost base to be flexible to cope with lower short term revenue growth rates.
Alongside management, the online book retailer is also working towards several initiatives to be implemented during the fourth quarter to ensure business costs and investments are more aligned with the company’s current growth trajectory.