THE chief executive of Blackwell’s is being made redundant as bosses warn of further job losses at the Oxford bookseller.

Andrew Hutchings, who has worked at the company for 23 years, will go as part of a major shake-up at the historic firm.

He will temporarily stay on to oversee the restructuring of the library supply division, which is set to lead to further job losses in the city as soon as next month.

Company spokesman Katie Perrior said: “The chief executive’s position has been made redundant and we will rationalise the library supply business later on this year.

“There is a real likelihood more Oxford-based jobs will go.”

The move is the result of a drive to put the company into “local ownership”, with individual Blackwell’s bookshops able to run more of their their own business. The 123-year-old firm will create dedicated business units for its bookshops and library supply operations.

This has already led to 25 job losses, with back office staff leaving Beaver House in Hythe Bridge Street.

Some 125 workers are now split between a new office in Cowley and the bookseller’s main shop in Broad Street, with Mr Hutchings based between the two.

Ms Perrior added the library supply business had been hit by nationwide library closures and changes in council book-buying habits, likely to be done through larger consortiums in future.

Oxfordshire County Council last year put forward plans to close 21 out of 43 libraries. It has since pledged to re-examine the plans.

Mr Hutchings joined Blackwell’s in 1987 and quickly rose through the ranks. He led both the information technology and marketing departments in Oxford while also completing the company’s management training programme.

After a three-year assignment in Blackwell’s offices in the US, leading the integration of the global businesses, he became managing director of Blackwell’s Book Services in 2005 before taking on the chief executive’s role two years later.

Meanwhile, David Prescott, who has been with Blackwell’s for 15 years, has been appointed managing director of bookshops and its online business.

He said: “Over the coming months we will continue to focus on delivering profitability through a framework which encourages local decision-making and ownership by our booksellers.”

Blackwell’s, which employs about 800 people nationally and runs more than 60 bookshops, lost £5.7m in 2010, down from a loss of £10.2m the year before.

Bosses are aiming to break even by next year when it hopes to implement owner Toby Blackwell’s vision of transforming the business into a John Lewis-style employee partnership.