Barnes & Noble Education names new chief financial officer

Barnes & Noble Education said it named Kevin Watson as its chief financial officer, effective Thursday. Watson will report directly to Michael Huseby, the Basking Ridge-based firm’s CEO.

A seasoned executive with more than 20 years of global finance, accounting, capital markets, business transformation and transactional experience across diverse industries, Watson will be responsible for the financial management of the company, including leading the accounting, treasury, tax, financial planning, financial operations, internal audit and investor relations teams.

“We are pleased to welcome Kevin to Barnes & Noble Education as our new chief financial officer,” Huseby said. “Kevin’s unique combination of financial, operational and capital markets expertise is a strong complement to the existing executive leadership team at this important time in our transformation. Kevin has a track record of delivering results and transforming companies to drive value creation and will be a tremendous asset to our company.”

Prior to joining BNED, Watson served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Paraco Gas Corp., one of the largest privately held energy distributors and service providers in the U.S. There, he oversaw finance, accounting, tax, internal audit, human resources, information technology, supply chain, business intelligence, risk management and mergers & acquisitions. While at Paraco, Watson spearheaded strategic and transformative initiatives to pursue growth objectives, increase efficiencies and strengthen the company’s market share.

Before joining Paraco in 2018, Watson successfully led select financing transactions such as a company leveraged buyout by a private-equity consortium, IPOs, spinoffs, mergers & acquisitions and private and public debt financings on senior executive teams at Cablevision Systems Corp., PanAmSat Corp. and Entex IT Service. In addition, Watson held a variety of finance roles at MCI Telecommunications and Prudential Securities Inc.

“I am thrilled to join Barnes & Noble Education at an exciting time in the company’s transformation. I look forward to working with the leadership team and the board as we continue to execute on our strategic priorities by focusing on achieving sustained growth and profitability and consistent execution, which we expect to deliver significant long-term value for shareholders,” Watson said.