With the appointment of Rob Prichard as chairman of Penguin Group (Canada), the overhaul of the executive team of one of Canada's largest publishers that began with the departure of David Davidar following allegations of sexual harassment has been completed. In addition to Prichard, Penguin Canada's executive ranks include Mike Bryan, appointed president in July, and a new executive board.
"Rob needs no introduction. He is well-known and universally respected throughout Canada," said John Makinson, chairman and CEO of Penguin Group.
Prichard has lots of experience in media and publishing in Canada. From 2002 to 2009, he was president and CEO of Torstar Corp., parent company of Harlequin, Canada's largest trade publisher. He has also served on numerous boards, including that of publisher McClelland & Stewart; and was president of the University of Toronto from 1990 to 2000.
In addition to Prichard, the executive board includes Makinson, Allan Reynolds (CEO of Pearson Canada), and David Shanks (CEO of Penguin Group USA). While having a board is new for Penguin Canada, Bryan called it "a useful discipline," and said the board will function as a strategic committee.
On the editorial side, Penguin Canada will likely be without publisher Nicole Winstanley for about a year while she is on maternity leave. But "in the meantime," Bryan said, "obviously the publishing teams are getting together and working as normal with the involvement of Ivan Held, who is the publisher of Putnam in the U.S., and indeed myself."
Bryan has a good moment to make an entrance at Penguin Canada. The house expects to sell two million copies of the Stieg Larsson trilogy over the year and is having a strong year in general with such bestsellers as Eat, Pray, Love and Neil Pasricha's The Book of Awesome, he said. And this week, there will be events in Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa to celebrate the launch of Penguin Canada's high-end nonfiction imprint, Allen Lane, and its new History of Canada series. Bryan was with Penguin India 18 months ago for its launch of Allen Lane, which he said was highly successful, producing six of the 10 nonfiction bestsellers in India last year.
Asked how he thought he would make the transition to the Canadian climate, Bryan said, "I'm a Brit, so I was missing gray skies a bit living in New Delhi. Although people are saying it's out of the frying pan into the fridge as far as the climate goes, I like the seasons."