The long-awaited merging of various departments at Random House and Ballantine took place last week, resulting in the departure of at least a dozen employees. The heads of nearly half a dozen departments and a number of editors were among those let go. The publisher also announced the group was being renamed the Random House Publishing Group, though the Ballantine name will live on via the Ballantine imprint.
In most of the instances, Ballantine employees prevailed over Random, as four of the six layoffs singled out in a statement come from the Random side.
Subrights will come together under Ballantine subrights director Claire Tisne, resulting in the departure of Random subrights director Susan Gilmer. A similar squeeze will take place in the art department, where Random creative director Dan Rembert will give way to Ballantine's Gene Mydlowski. Howard Weill, who as Random deputy publisher handled financial matters and business operations, will see his role assumed by Ballantine counterpart Bill Takes.
A few Random employees made the cut: Kathleen Spinelli, who handled advertising for Ballantine, was let go, and Deborah Aiges, who oversaw advertising for Random, will take over Spinelli's responsibilities. Random head of production Kathy Rosenbloom will take over the job as Ballantine's Barbara Greenberg was let go.
A Random spokesperson acknowledged a number of other layoffs but declined to provide specifics. The spokesperson did confirm several cuts on the editorial side of Ballantine, including Tracy Brown and Dan Smetanka. Another editorial casualty came from the Random side, as the group, in a separate announcement, said that Ivan Held is being let go from the relatively new Random Trade Paperback Group, and that the imprint will come under the oversight of David Ebershoff. While Random trade paperbacks will continue, the idea, explained Random House Publishing Group publisher Gina Centrello, was to make the lines of reporting less murky and keep, to a large degree, Random, Modern Library and Ballantine hardcovers with their parallel paperback imprints.
Filling holes that had been open in the old structure will be Ballantine director of sales Anthony Ziccardi, who will become director of sales and marketing for the entire group, with Aiges and a number of others now under him. Meanwhile, Random associate publisher Libby McGuire will take on that responsibility for the whole group; Ballantine did not have an associate publisher before the reorganization.
Perhaps the most shuffling occurred in publicity. There were no known major layoffs, but Tom Perry, who oversaw much of the Random title publicity and reported to Carol Schneider, and Kim Hovey, who oversaw Ballantine publicity and reported directly to Gina Centrello, will now both report to McGuire. Schneider will become the division's "media spokesperson" and will hold a more freestanding position that involves marketing some of the bigger titles to national media and the like. Schneider says one of her roles will be to "proactively" handle communications about how the integration and group are perceived. She'll report to McGuire as well.
In explaining the moves, Schneider said that the idea is that there is not a mentality of "us and them" any longer. "We want people to know that we're not two publishers stitched together but one publisher with a huge variety of offerings," she said.