The transformation of Penguin Random House's editorial operations began in earnest today with the announcement of the creation of the Penguin Publishing Group. The new unit, which will house all of Penguin’s adult imprints, will be overseen by Madeline McIntosh, currently PRH's president of U.S. operations, and COO. With the realignment, Susan Petersen Kennedy, president of Penguin Group U.S., will be leaving the company at the end of the year.
In one of his three letters to employees about the changes, PRH CEO Markus Dohle acknowledged that while McIntosh’s appointment is “a significant change for Penguin’s leadership structure," it is not a change "being contemplated for the creative and entrepreneurial direction of Penguin’s individual publishing imprints.” Dohle also noted that the change does not affect the Penguin Young Readers Group which remains under the direction of Don Weisberg, who continues to report to Dohle.
Among the members of the new Penguin Publishing leadership team is Leslie Gelbman, who has been president of the Berkley and NAL publishing groups. Dohle called her “both a brilliant, nurturing editor and a visionary publisher who is the architect overseeing many of Penguin’s most successful adult publishing programs.” She will report to McIntosh as will the heads of all of Penguin’s adult imprints.
In explaining the change, Dohle said that as the industry continues to evolve, PRH needs “more unified publishing strategies across all formats. That is why the time is right to create a one-leader management structure for the entire Penguin adult business, while also maintaining the identity of each of its individual publishing imprints.”
With McIntosh’s appointment, PRH has promoted Nihar Malaviya and Jaci Updike to new roles with more responsibilities. Malaviya is now executive v-p and COO, PRH U.S. and Updike is president of sales, PRH U.S. Malaviya’s chief priorities, Dohle said, “will be to lead us through the ongoing systems and supply-chain integration, and to ensure that we respond even more rapidly and effectively to the digital transformation of our business.” In his new role, Malaviya has gained a number of new reports and those can be seen in Dohle’s second letter.
Updike’s appointment—from senior v-p , director, adult sales—puts her in charge of all of PRH’s sales operations with Felicia Frazier, senior v-p, director, PRH Young Readers Sales, and Cyrus Kheradi, senior v-p, director PRH International Sales and Marketing and director, East Asia Business Development, now reporting to Updike.
In announcing Kennedy’s pending departure, Dohle praised her as “a leader with a brilliant mind who seamlessly combines a gift for the art and commerce of publishing with a great heart.” Dohle acknowledged that Penguin will be a different place without Kennedy, but noted that “the legacies she leaves us as President, Penguin Group U.S. are rich, diverse, and long lasting, especially her achievements as an imprint and business builder, and as a champion of the Penguin culture.”
Kennedy became president of the Penguin Group in 2001 after joining the company in 1997 when Penguin bought Putnam Berkley where Kennedy had worked since 1994. Prior to joining Putnam, Kennedy led the Ballantine Publishing Group where she oversaw the purchase of Fawcett. In addition to a number of award-winning authors, Dohle noted that during her time at Penguin her imprints have had more than 1,000 bestselling books.
In a statement, Kennedy said: "I am leaving the company that I love, books that I love, people whom I love. I have spent so many years in the service of this enterprise; it will take time for me to discover where Penguin ends and I begin. However, the world is endlessly fascinating to me. And I am looking forward to further adventures in the arts."