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Both Indigo’s President and CEO Have Left the Retailer

After nearly a year in his role as the top executive, the chief executive of Indigo Books & Music Inc. is stepping down.

The Toronto-based retailer, known for books and home goods, announced on Thursday that Peter Ruis has resigned. The board expressed its gratitude for his contributions to the company and wished him success in his future career endeavors. The company did not provide a specific reason for his departure, marking the latest in a series of unexpected leadership changes at Indigo over the past year.

Andrea Limbardi, who had served as Indigo’s president for 21 years, announced her departure in a LinkedIn post the day before, revealing her new position as the head of Reitmans Canada Ltd, an apparel business.

However, the most significant departure in recent months was that of Heather Reisman, Indigo’s renowned founder, who had transformed the company into a Canadian retail powerhouse with 171 stores and introduced the highly lucrative “Heather’s Picks” book selections. She had been the chief executive until Ruis took over the role and retired from the board on August 22nd.

Before her retirement, four of Indigo’s ten directors had left the board, with Chika Stacy Oriuwa citing a “loss of confidence in board leadership” and “mistreatment” as reasons for her resignation.

Ruis had been under pressure to bring stability to the company’s leadership and put his own mark on Indigo. Just last month, he confidently stated that his ideas had the support of his team.

His vision for the company revolved around continuing Indigo’s longstanding goal of blending books and home goods in its stores. He intended to put this strategy to the test with the launch of an urban concept store in Toronto later this month, offering pastries, coffee, beer, wine, a listening booth, an arcade area, and dedicated sections for home fragrances, plants, and popular Japanese graphic novels known as Manga.

However, Ruis acknowledged that attracting customers would be a challenge due to reduced buying power caused by inflation and a cyberattack in February that disrupted the company’s website and sales.

Despite these challenges, Ruis seemed well-prepared for the task, and Reisman had praised his extensive experience in U.K. retail, which included positions at Marks & Spencer, Ted Baker, and Levi Strauss & Co.

Ruis initially joined the company as president in February 2021 while based in England but relocated to Toronto with his family.

As he departs, Ruis has agreed to serve as a consultant to Indigo for the next two months to facilitate a smooth transition in leadership.

The board is now focused on swiftly identifying the right leader to steer the company forward. In the meantime, Indigo’s chief financial officer, Craig Loudon, and the company’s general counsel, Damien Liddle, will work closely with the board to provide day-to-day guidance.

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