News Shorts
Staff -- 9/11/00

Gottlieb Quits Morris Agency | Three Rivers Adds Staff | Two Join CDS
Hastings Posts Loss | MHC-Trib. Deal Done
COO & Editorial Director Leave Tuttle | Oppedisano Joins Palgrave

Gottlieb Quits Morris AgencyRobert Gottlieb, executive v-p of the William Morris Agency, has resigned and is starting a new agency, the Trident Media Group, that will represent some of his biggest WMA clients. He will be joined at Trident by Dan Strone, a former Morris senior v-p, and two other Morris staffers, Maya Perez and Lauren Sheftell.

Gottlieb, who began in the Morris mailroom 24 years ago and rose through the ranks to become the youngest agent to join the board of directors, has developed a star roster of authors, many of whom, including Dean Koontz, Deepak Copra, Catherine Coulter, Elizabeth George, Janet Evanovich, Stephen Coonts, Dale Brown and Alan Folsom, will join him at Trident. Gottlieb represented Tom Clancy for many years until the author recently decided to be represented by movie agent Michael Ovitz.

Strone, who quit Morris a few weeks ago, pioneered the celebrity book genre with tomes by such names as Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reisner and Whoopi Goldberg, among others. It was not known at press time whether he will bring some of his authors with him to Trident.

The new agency is at 488 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y 10019.
--John Baker

Three Rivers Adds StaffThree Rivers Press, Crown Publishing's paperback line, has for the first time assigned an associate publisher, publicity director and publicity department exclusively to the imprint. The move is part of an expansion in the imprint, which is headed by v-p and editorial director Linda L wenthal.

Philip Patrick was named associate publisher. He had been associate director of marketing at Vintage, where he worked on such titles as Memoirs of a Geisha and House of Sand and Fog. Prior to that, he was marketing manager for Random House AudioBooks.

Brian Belfiglio will run the new publicity department in the newly created position of publicity director. Previously, he was associate director of publicity at Crown, responsible for publicity for such titles as The Onion's Our Dumb Century. Belfiglio will report to Patrick.

Two Join CDSClient Distribution Services, the distribution company formed last year by former Random House executives, has added two new members to its management team. Stanley Cohen has joined CDS as v-p, director of sales, and Janet Napolitano Krug has been named director of international sales.

Cohen, most recently v-p, director of retail sales at Random House, will be responsible for directing CDS's U.S. sales force and managing sales, marketing and distribution for client publishers in the American market. Krug will oversee the international sales forces for Abbeville Press and Hearst Books, two of CDS's eight clients. Most recently international sales manager for Abbeville, Krug will also be responsible for all export accounts. Both Cohen and Krug will report to Steve Black, senior v-p for sales and marketing at CDS.

Over the last few months, CDS has added Chouette and Lego Media to its client list, and Black expects CDS to double its business within the next six months.

Hastings Posts Loss Sales in the second quarter at Hastings Entertainment rose 4.6%, to $107.1 million, from $102.4 million, while the company had a net loss of $2.3 million, compared to a net income of $862,000 in the same period a year ago. Sales at the multimedia retailer's 143 stores open more than a year were "basically flat." Most Hastings stores are in small- and medium-sized markets in the Rocky Mountains and Plains states.

Chairman and CEO John H. Marmaduke said that the net loss resulted "primarily" from the accounting fiasco earlier this year that caused it to restate results downward by $31.5 million, as well as from efforts to reduce and balance inventories, which caused higher returns expenses. Marmaduke added that the company ended the first half of the year "in a strong financial position, with positive cash flow from operations of $22 million; $52 million in working capital; and book value of $7.51 per share."

Hastings also has a new, three-year $70-million secured revolving credit facility. Dan Crow, v-p, finance, said that the new facility "significantly enhances the company's financial liquidity and operating flexibility" and is nearly $20 million higher than previous credit facilities.
--John Mutter

MHC-Trib. Deal DoneThe McGraw-Hill Cos. completed its purchase of Tribune Company's educational publishing unit for $634.7 million plus estimated adjustments of $45 million for working capital and sharing of income. The acquisition, announced in June, was briefly delayed when the Justice Department asked for additional information on the purchase before it would sign off on the deal. An MHC spokesperson said the acquisition went through as planned. Bob Evanson, president of M-H Education, will be in charge of integrating the former Tribune properties into MHC.

COO & Editorial Director Leave Tuttle Chief operating officer Michael Kerber and editorial director Jan Johnson resigned from Boston-based Tuttle Publishing, part of the Periplus Publishing Group, last month. "We left to pursue a new venture. What we're trying to do is either start a new publishing house or acquire a publishing house in New England," Kerber told PW. Kerber, who was responsible for launching the Tuttle Library of Enlightenment and the Bruce Lee Library during his 10 years with the company, and Johnson are interested in publishing books on spirituality and self-help. Before joining Tuttle in 1998, Johnson had worked at Harper San Francisco, where she acquired Anne Wilson Schaef's bestselling Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much.

Director of sales Steve Fischer, who is overseeing Boston operations in the interim, characterizes Kerber and Johnson's departure as amicable, and anticipates that both positions will be filled shortly. In the meantime, he notes that "our sales are running just above plan."

Michael Kerber can be reached at
--Judith Rosen

Oppedisano Joins PalgravePalgrave, a new imprint combining the St. Martin's Press Scholarly & Reference Division and Macmillan Press (U.K.), has named Robert Oppedisano to the newly created position of v-p for sales and marketing. He will report to Garrett Kiely, Palgrave's president and publisher. His role at Palgrave will be to develop the imprint's general nonfiction, reference, business and journals publishing programs.

Oppedisano had been director of marketing and sales for the scholarly and professional reference division of Oxford University Press. In addition to his work at Oxford, Oppedisano has directed marketing for Columbia University Press, the University of Chicago Press and Macmillan.