Waterstone's has appointed former Dixons Group executive and retail heavyweight David Gilbert as managing director.
Gilbert spent 23 years at Dixons, including six years on the Group board.
He was most recently chief operating officer of the eponymous chain and The Link.
His appointment is the latest move by Waterstone's to assert its dominance of the books market and introduce tight retail disciplines.
Gilbert said: 'I am confident that my long-standing interest in literature coupled with my 27 years in retailing will prove a winning formula.'
Competition in the books sector is intensifying, as WHSmith struggles and specialists such as Ottakar's ascend.