Barnes & Noble Inc promoted the head of its e-commerce business to chief executive, weeks after investor Ron Burkle accused its board of protecting the interests of its controlling family when it blocked his attempt to raise his stake.

The top U.S. bookseller said William Lynch, 39, will succeed Steve Riggio as chief executive and Riggio will stay with the company as vice chairman.

Lynch launched the company's Nook electronic reader, which competes with Inc's Kindle and Sony's e-book reader.

Steve Riggio, his brother and Chairman Leonard Riggio, and other insiders own about 31 percent of the company's shares.

In January, investor Burkle, whose investment firm Yucaipa Cos owns 18.7 percent in Barnes & Noble, had asked the board for permission to double his stake in the company without triggering the poison pill provision.

However, the board rejected the request.

The company also said it promoted Chief Operating Officer Mitchell Klipper to CEO of its retail group.

Shares of the company closed at $22.33 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)