EXCLUSIVE: Why Tony Nash is Departing as Booktopia CEO

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 03 May 2022

On Monday, Tony Nash announced his shock departure as CEO of Booktopia. We spoke to the Booktopia Co-Founder about the thought process behind the departure, and what’s next for Nash.

The entrepreneur co-founded the company in 2004, famously on a $10-a-day budget, which has since grown to become one of the leading online book retailers in the country. It took four months for the business to see a return on investment, which Nash claimed was ‘lucky’. Listing on the ASX in late 2020, the business has undergone a massive transformation since its early days in the ’00s.

On Monday evening, Booktopia announced that Nash would be stepping aside as CEO of the company, and will instead redirect his focus as the Full-Time Senior Executive and Director within the company.

The idea was floated in 2021, Nash tells us. “I mentioned to my Chairman and one of the Directors almost six months ago that this could be a good option to bring on a CEO.”

But the decision was actually made at the end of last week. “The Board decided that having me and a new CEO as part of the Executive Leadership Team in the organisation puts us in a much more resilient position,” Nash tells Power Retail. “It addresses succession planning considerations and many other opportunities.”

This move was inspired by the similar steps taken by other Executives of large businesses, such as Google and Microsoft. “I have researched many other successful companies where the Founder/CEO has stepped aside and brought in an experienced CEO,” says Nash. “It seemed like a sensible strategy.”

Nash explained that despite building a business from zero to $240 million in revenue, it doesn’t mean that he is the “best person to steer the ship through to $1 billion,” he tells Power Retail. “Besides, I am an entrepreneur. I know how to grow businesses and drive forward sales. I make the invisible visible. So as a major shareholder I want to know we have the right leadership team in place to maximise returns for the company,” he says.

Looking forward, what will his new role specifically entail? Tony Nash tells Power Retail that he will be Booktopia’s Chief Growth Officer. “I love growth, I love selling. I can be of the most value to Booktopia, authors, publishers, customers, etc in this new role,” he explains.

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