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He's back: Stevenson returns to Canada

Larry Stevenson is back in Toronto, and Globe and Mail business reporter Gordon Pitts has a Q&A with the Chapters founder. After losing Chapters to Indigo in a hostile takeover, Stevenson reportedly studied at the Sorbonne, and in 2003 he took over as CEO of Pep Boys, a Philadelphia-based auto parts firm. He left that post last summer, and now he’s joined Callisto Capital, a private equity firm.

The Globe piece touches on Stevenson’s reading habits: he’s been enjoying Wayne Johnston’s latest novel but has also been essaying some Roman history, since “Fiction is fun, but I feel it has to be combined with learning.”

Also explored is the difference between the U.S. and Canadian business climates. Stevenson notes that massive layoffs and store closures at Pep Boys were reported in cheerleading tones by the business press, while “when we closed individual stores up here in my former life, it was a big deal.” And asked about the difference between books and auto parts, he says, “the toughest decisions in business are determing what is the business, who do you compete with, what are the shared costs.”

Quillblog can sympathize – we’re still trying to figure out whom exactly Chapters was competing with.

And if you’re wondering how long it takes Pitts to remind readers that his interview subject is a former paratrooper – a statutory requirement for any story about Stevenson – the job is done in record time, a mere four words in.