Christopher Davis died on December 2nd, at home in his sleep. Christopher started in publishing at Paul Hamlyn in 1968 and moved to Mitchell Beasley in the early ‘70s. In 1974 he became one of the founders of Dorling Kindersley, and he worked there until his retirement in 2005. Though he wasn't Dorling, or Kindersley, Christopher was central to everything DK was, from its inception until its final integration into Penguin.
He was, over the years, its editorial director, its publisher, its deputy chairman, and finally its historian, as the author of Eyewitness: The Rise and Fall of Dorling Kindersley. He was the great talent behind many of DK’s most famous books: The Way Things Work, the Eyewitness Children's Books and the DK Travel Guides, to name a few. He had the extraordinary capability of creating a new way to look at the world, and never shied away from the hard work and expense to bring that idea to fruition.
Christopher filled many roles at DK. He was probably its greatest creative talent. But more importantly his curiosity, generosity, and his extraordinary sense of humor became the linchpins of DK 's culture and spirit. He always thought of, and spoke for, everyone at DK, caring deeply for its people both individually and collectively. He made working at DK rewarding and fun, and rightfully the staff adored him for it.
Christopher knew many in the publishing industry as he often crossed the globe with his bag of books and new ideas. All whom he touched will miss him greatly. So let's put that broadly grinning face on a white background, sketch in some drop shadow under that grizzled chin, put a leader line against that big mop of hair and drop in the caption: Christopher Davis was a sweet and remarkable man. And the next time you see a tourist somewhere in the world looking at a DK travel guide, think of Christopher and remember how his whole face crinkled up when he laughed. May he rest in peace.
Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, is the former CEO of Dorling Kindersley USA.