Oren Teicher to Become ABA's Next CEO

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Yesterday, ABA President Gayle Shanks notified association bookstore members via e-mail that the position of association CEO had been offered to, and accepted by, Oren J. Teicher, ABA's current COO. In January, Avin Mark Domnitz, ABA CEO for the past 12 years, announced that he would be stepping down. Teicher's appointment is effective June 1, 2009.

In her e-mail Shanks noted, "The [ABA search] committee unanimously recommended Oren to the full Board as the right person for the job. His encyclopedic knowledge of everything associated with ABA's past and current programs, coupled with his thoughtful and insightful analysis of how ABA can meet our future challenges, combined to make him our clear choice." Noting that the association faces "enormous challenges" in "these extremely difficult economic times," Shanks expressed confidence that ABA under "Oren's knowledgeable and enthusiastic leadership -- along with the remarkable resiliency and entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes ABA members" will "help [bookstores] through this period and that independent bookselling will not just survive, but will once again thrive!"

Domnitz said, "Oren brings close to 20 years' experience working on behalf of independent booksellers, including 12 as ABA Chief Operating Officer, to his new position. His vast experience in the workings of the association as well as his unique talents make him extraordinarily qualified to lead ABA in these perilous times."

Teicher commented to BTW, "I've spent the last 20 years of my life working on behalf of the country's independent bookstores, and to be able to continue to do this is a real honor. I'm enormously grateful to the Search Committee and to the ABA Board for giving me this opportunity." Looking ahead, he said, "I am convinced that when one combines the entrepreneurial skills of independent booksellers with the skills and energy of our highly talented professional staff there really is no limit to what we might be able to do."

Teicher added, "Working these years with Avin has been a highlight of my professional career, and his long-lasting legacy at ABA is a gift to all of us. As CEO, I'm looking forward to making sure that ABA works creatively and effectively in this digital age on behalf of independent booksellers -- the nicest, smartest, and most creative group of people that you'd find anywhere. Together, I believe, we can cultivate and promote the unique achievement that my friend Gayle Shanks calls 'the literary landscape.' I simply cannot imagine anything I'd rather be doing!"

Shanks' entire communication to ABA members is below.


Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that after a full and thorough search the ABA Board of Directors has offered the position of our new CEO to Oren J. Teicher. We are delighted that Oren has accepted this appointment, effective June 1, 2009. As many of you know, Oren has been involved with ABA and independent bookstores for more than 20 years. At ABA, he has worn many hats. He was our Associate Executive Director, Director of Government Affairs, founding President of ABFFE, and, for the past 12 years, has been our Chief Operating Officer. Oren's knowledge of, and passion for, independent bookselling is well known to booksellers across the country. He has played an integral part in our IndieBound Local First initiatives, and he serves as an advisor to independent business alliance boards and other independent retail trade associations.

The Search Committee consisted of myself; Steve Bercu (BookPeople, Austin, TX); Betsy Burton (The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT); Linda Ramsdell (The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT); Michael Tucker (Books Inc., San Francisco, CA); and Lilla Weinberger (Readers' Books, Sonoma, CA); together with ABA's General Counsel, Deanne Ottaviano of Arent Fox LLP. We interviewed multiple candidates after reviewing hundreds of resumes. Though several of the other applicants were very highly qualified, the committee unanimously recommended Oren to the full Board as the right person for the job. His encyclopedic knowledge of everything associated with ABA's past and current programs, coupled with his thoughtful and insightful analysis of how ABA can meet our future challenges, combined to make him our clear choice.

As everyone knows, Oren will be succeeding Avin Mark Domnitz, our esteemed current CEO, who announced this past January that he will be retiring. Avin has served ABA and independent bookselling with extraordinary distinction. I am pleased to report that at BookExpo America this year we will be gathering together to celebrate Avin's many contributions to our industry. Plan on joining the entire book community on Thursday evening, May 28, at 9:00 p.m. at "Hotel ABA" (aka the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge) as we salute Avin and all he has accomplished. Additional details about this celebration will be forthcoming in BTW, but, please, do put it on your calendar right away.

As I wrote back in January in my letter announcing Avin's decision to retire, we are very proud of the fact that under his leadership, ABA has become an organization that is open and responsive to its members. We have come a long way in breaking down barriers to communication while encouraging interaction on all levels among booksellers, publishers, wholesalers, the ABA Board, association staff, and the book-loving world. The Board and Oren are totally committed to continuing and maintaining that kind of organization.

During these extremely difficult economic times, the enormous challenges facing ABA and independent booksellers cannot be overestimated. I am convinced, however, that the association's brilliant and dedicated staff under Oren's knowledgeable and enthusiastic leadership -- along with the remarkable resiliency and entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes ABA members -- will help us through this period and that independent bookselling will not just survive, but will once again thrive!

As recommended several years ago by our Governance Review Committee, details surrounding the new CEO contract will be made available to the membership after they are finalized. The Board wants to assure the membership that the terms of the new CEO's contract will fit well within the norm for trade associations of our size. The hiring of a new CEO is an appropriate time to conduct a review of all of the association's programs and expenses, and the Board has requested that Oren undertake that effort. To that end, I know that he will welcome your ideas and thoughts, so please feel free to contact him at oren@bookweb.org.

I want to express my warmest thanks to the members of the Search Committee for the honesty, integrity, and intensity put forth during these past months and for their gracious willingness to put their personal needs aside for the common good of ABA and the bookselling community. The membership should have full confidence in the search process -- it was conducted thoughtfully and fairly.

I know that all booksellers, along with our book industry colleagues, will want to join the Board in congratulating Oren on becoming ABA's new CEO and to wish him well in his new position! These are challenging times, but by working together we will continue to create the literary landscape in this country, build our local economies, and bring books to readers.

Warm regards,

Gayle Shanks
ABA President
gayle@changinghands.com
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S. McClintock Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85283