Apple Books Executive, Business Innovator Joins Iona University as Senior Advisor

New Rochelle & Bronxville, N.Y. – Iona University is pleased to announce that James Mustich, a nationally renowned author, editor and digital innovator, has returned to serve as senior advisor to the president effective as of Feb. 5, 2024. He joins Iona most recently from Apple Books, where he served as head of the U.S. Book Store since 2021.

Mustich, a serial innovator who has successfully reimagined how traditional industries can evolve in the digital space, previously served as executive-in-residence at Iona from 2019-2021. During that time, he helped guide Iona on a path of innovation that contributed to the University’s expansive growth despite the headwinds of the pandemic. During his tenure, Mustich implemented new strategies focused on three primary goals: fostering student success; promoting academic excellence and distinctiveness; and attracting and retaining top talent.

Many of these strategies continue to benefit Iona as the University expands opportunities for students both inside and outside the classroom, growing new student enrollment nearly 30 percent since 2019. Notably, The Princeton Review included Iona in its 2024 “Best 389 Colleges” nationwide for the first time this year. The Wall Street Journal also ranked Iona as the #66 Best College in America, including the #8 best Catholic college in the nation and #1 for student experience in New York. Iona also tied Yale as the #4 most recommended college by students in the Northeast in the 2024 WSJ rankings.

“I am pleased to welcome Jim back to Iona. Given his track record of successful innovation, his insights will help to drive the development of new strategies that position Iona on the cutting-edge of higher education,” said Iona President Seamus Carey, Ph.D. “This will involve working closely with campus leaders and faculty to develop programs and initiatives that propel the Iona mission forward in meaningful ways on behalf of the students, faculty and communities we serve.”

In his new role, Mustich will play a lead role in the research of data, trends and technological innovations that influence higher education, thereby helping to inform key projects. Working closely with the president, Mustich will be responsible for proposals and pilot projects that continue to enhance Iona’s position as an industry leader. Mustich will also work closely with the provost and be instrumental in supporting faculty development and training initiatives to meet the challenges of new technology and the evolving educational landscape.

“I am honored and excited to return to Iona, which is home to a community that is talented, resourceful, driven and deeply committed to the transformative power of education,” Mustich said. “Together with Dr. Carey and the Iona team, I look forward to building upon the University’s success to envision a bright future and discover the strategies and initiatives that will take us to it.”

Mustich, author of the acclaimed “1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List,” began his career as a bookseller and editor and would go on to help revolutionize the industry. He co-founded and published the mail-order book catalog, “A Common Reader: Books for Readers with Imagination,” which was circulated to hundreds of thousands of readers, and then successfully translated that passion into the digital age.

As a senior leader at Barnes & Noble for nearly 14 years, Mustich developed and launched numerous new products. He notably was the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Review, an online literary journal, and went on to serve as vice president of business innovation and then vice president of digital products. In these roles, he developed and launched apps and experiences that brought the power of digital technology to the world of book discovery. He also developed and served as executive producer of the Barnes & Noble Podcast. He has conducted interviews with literary luminaries and cultural figures including Salman Rushdie, Philip Pullman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Elmore Leonard, Lydia Bastianich, and Questlove, among many others.

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just six percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.