On Monday, March 18, the American Booksellers Association announced that Oren J. Teicher, who has been ABA’s CEO since 2009, has said that he will be retiring at the end of the year.
In making his decision, Teicher said, “To say the least, this was not a decision I reached lightly, as I have cherished every single day over the last 30 years that I have worked at ABA. But the time has come, and I firmly believe it's the right decision for me, and for ABA.” Looking ahead, he noted, “There are also a number of important things still to get done, and I expect to continue working on those as vigorously as I can while I remain CEO.”
“ABA has been immensely fortunate to have had Oren Teicher as our CEO these last 10 years,” said ABA President Robert Sindelar. “His tireless efforts working on behalf of our member stores have helped make significant changes to the independent bookstore business model, and the growth and success so many of our stores are experiencing are due to his vision and leadership. It’s hard to imagine the current indie bookstore landscape without Oren being a key part of it. As tough as it will be to see Oren go, with membership numbers on the rise, our channel’s net unit sales also on the rise, and our core work in education at Winter Institute, Children's Institute, the Spring Forums, and distance learning stronger than they have ever been, ABA is well positioned to engage in a transition of leadership.”
Teicher came to ABA in 1990 as the association’s Associate Executive Director. During his almost 30 years at ABA, he served as Director of Government Affairs, the founding President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and, through 2009, as ABA's Chief Operating Officer. Teicher succeeded ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz in June 2009.
Sindelar told BTW that the ABA Board has begun the process of selecting a new CEO. The Board has retained the outside search firm of Isaacson, Miller and has appointed a Search Committee to recommend the next CEO to the ABA Board. The members of the search committee are: Sindelar; ABA vice president Jamie Fiocco; ABA Board members Bradley Graham, Christine Onorati, and Annie Philbrick; and ABA member booksellers Gayle Shanks of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, and Len Vlahos of Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado.
As part of the selection process, a description of the position will be finalized and approved by the search committee, and Isaacson, Miller will begin conducting interviews with a variety of association stakeholders to identify the challenges and opportunities ABA and the new CEO will face in the coming years. Sindelar said that ABA’s goal is to create a diverse pool of candidates for the job, and he noted that in 2018 half of Isaacson, Miller’s executive placements were women, with a third from underrepresented groups.
Current plans call for the Search Committee launch meeting in the late spring, with two additional committee meetings in early to mid-summer. It’s expected that there will be two rounds of in-person interviews with candidates in late summer/early fall. Sindelar noted that ABA’s goal is to complete the search process by the end of ABA's fiscal year, September 30, 2019.
Watch BTW for updates on the association's CEO search and selection process, and bookstore members with questions and/or feedback are encouraged to email either Robert Sindelar at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Lee at Isaacson, Miller at alee@IMSearch.com.