Blackwell chief executive Andrew Hutchings has been made redundant as part of a restructure of the academic books chain.

The retailer is scrapping the role of chief executive to build upon its strategy of “local ownership and customer service”, according to The Bookseller.

Blackwell has separated its library supply division from its bookshop operations. Both arms will now be led by its own managing director.

Hutchings will move to the position of managing director of the library supply division on an interim basis until the company recruits someone on a permanent basis.

David Prescott, formerly business development director for Blackwell, will lead the bookstore and online business unit.

Hutchings has been with the company for 23 years.

Blackwell chairman Trevor Goul-Wheeker said his redundancy was “mutually agreed”.

Goul-Wheeker said:  “This is a structure that Andrew and the management team proposed. He doesn’t see the need for a CEO, it makes sense to have separate business units that are really focussed on the customer. It is a mature decision.”

He added Hutchings wanted to move to a role outside bookselling.

Blackwell, which plans to offer its employees a stake in the business through a John Lewis-style partnership scheme, cut losses to £5.7m in the year to June 26, 2010, compared with £10.2m the previous year.