After founding the Berkeley, California-based Counterpoint over five years ago, Charlie Winton is handing over the reigns to a new boss. Winton will be leaving his post as publisher, and, on May 1, Rolph Blythe, a former marketing and publicity director at the company, will succeed him. Winton will remain chairman and CEO of Counterpoint as well as executive editor-at-large, with Blythe reporting to him as will Jack Shoemaker and Kelli Adams, editorial director and business manager, respectively, of Counterpoint.
Winton, a veteran of the publishing industry, founded Publishers Group West in 1976, and went on to run that company for 25 years. In that time, he grew PGW into one of the largest book distributors in the country. In 1994 Winton created Avalon Publishing Group, an independent house that was sold to Perseus, along with PGW, in 2007. Shortly after Winton sold Avalon, he formed Counterpoint LLC by acquiring and merging Counterpoint Press, Shoemaker and Hoard, and Soft Skull Press.
Winton, who noted that he is steping down as publisher of Counterpoint after the company had one of its strongest years to date, "with net revenues increasing over 30 percent," said he is looking forward to keeping a foothold in the business while having the opportunity to explore other endeavors. "I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to grow and develop the company, but most of all I am really excited about the prospect of being able to step back and have time to do many of the other things I enjoy. I think this change will allow me to stay creatively engaged and at the same time get a lot more balance in my life. By far and away it's been a long remarkable run over the last 37 years."
Blythe, who worked as a bookseller and book review editor before joining Counterpoint, also worked at Graywolf Press and as a literary agent, initially at Dunow, Carlson and Lerner, and then at his own eponymous agency.