Will Pesce will retire as president and CEO of John Wiley & Sons on April 30, the end of the company’s current fiscal year, to be succeeded by Stephen Smith, Wiley’s chief operating officer since 2009. Pesce joined Wiley in 1989 and was named president and CEO in 1998, succeeding Charles Ellis. Under his leadership the company moved its headquarters from New York to Hoboken, N.J., made a series of important acquisitions, became a leader in digital publishing, while posting record financial results.
Smith has been with Wiley since 1992, when he joined the company as v-p, Wiley Asia. Since then he has held a number of executive roles prior to his appointment as COO last year. In making the announcement, chairman Peter Booth Wiley stressed the importance of naming a Wiley veteran to the top spot. “The appointment of Steve Smith as Wiley's next president and CEO represents continuity of leadership. Steve has been a highly influential member of our leadership team and a major contributor to the Company’s success. His leadership skills and extensive experience in Asia and Europe, where he has been actively involved in all of our businesses, will be critically important to the Company’s continued success,” he said. "This appointment is the result of Wiley’s successful development of leadership talent, the Board’s thorough assessment of Steve’s career at the Company, and a careful review of internal and external candidates.”
With his promotion, Smith, 55, will become a member of the Wiley board, and Pesce, 59, will also be nominated for a seat.