Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster since 2008, died of a heart attack this morning. She was 71.

News of Reidy’s death was delivered to shocked S&S employees by Dennis Eulau, the company's executive v-p of operations and chief financial officer, who had worked with Reidy for 25 years. In his note, Eulau called Reidy “a fierce leader, loyal friend, and passionate supporter.” He pointed to Reidy’s “rare combination of business acumen and creative genius that made her a once-in-a-lifetime publishing executive.”

Noting Reidy’s habit of congratulating authors and employees with personal notes to mark an accomplishment, Eulau wrote: "She walked through life with an abundance of joy, and loved to celebrate the accomplishments and milestones of her colleagues and friends with great generosity and fanfare. That so many of us at Simon & Schuster have been friends and colleagues with her for many, many years says everything about the kind of person and leader she was, and we will all miss her terribly.”

Reidy joined S&S from Avon Books in 1992, and was serving as head of adult publishing in the fall of 2007, when she was named to succeed the retiring Jack Romanos as CEO. In an interview with PW in December 2017 when she was named PW’s Person of the Year, Reidy talked about opening up the lines of communication between the executive level and the rest of S&S. Her objective, she told PW, was to give the staff a sense of gratification for the company’s success, and to make them feel that they are all contributing to that success.

In his message to employees, Eulau wrote that Reidy’s “fierce intelligence and curiosity, and her determination to know everything about a given subject if it could help us to be better, were matched by her complete and total accessibility.”

As word of Reidy’s death spread throughout the industry, tributes to Reidy began to come in. "Carolyn was an iconic figure in publishing. It is of course a huge loss for her family and for publishing,” said Robert Gottlieb, head of Trident Media Group. “She had a great sense of humor and fantastic publishing instincts. Carolyn will be very much missed by all of us.”

Reidy's husband has requested that, in lieu of flowers, those wishing to share condolences make donations in her honor to Worldreader. Condolence cards can be sent to the address below:

Stephen K. Reidy
c/o Simon & Schuster Corporate Communications
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

For more tributes from Reidy's colleagues, click here.