Larry Hughes, who began his publishing career as an assistant editor at Pocket Books in 1949 before rising to become chairman of the Hearst Trade Book Group some 40 years later, died on November 14. He was 98.

Hughes's most significant career move came in 1960, when he became president and CEO of William Morrow & Company after buying the publisher with two partners. Under his active leadership, Morrow acquired such prominent authors as Ken Follett, John Irving, Sidney Sheldon, Margaret Truman, and Joseph Wambaugh.

Morrow was sold to textbook publisher Scott, Foresman in 1967, which in turn sold it to Hearst in 1981. In PW's 125th Anniversary issue, which was published in July 1997, Hughes was one of a number of people noted for shaping publishing in the previous 25 years, and his entry was republished in our 150th Anniversary issue last year. Throughout the different ownership changes, we noted, “Hughes continued to run the company as one of the last of the great editor-managers, acquiring and editing a string of major authors, training a generation of editors and being one of the more eloquent, and popular, spokesmen for the book business in the process.”

The sale of Morrow to Hearst led to the creation of the Hearst Trade Book Group, over which Hughes presided as CEO and, eventually, chairman, from 1985-1990, when he stepped down to become editor-at-large and group advisor. Hughes moved into a more active advisor role in 1999, when Jane Friedman, then CEO of HarperCollins, hired him as a consultant following HC’s acquisition of the Hearst Trade Book Group. He left that position at the end of 2001 to devote more of his time to Hobson and Hughes, a company he formed whose activities include serving as agent for the estate of Erle Stanley Gardner.

Hughes was active in a host of publishing and publishing-related organizations, including as a board member of the Association of American Publishers, for which he also served a term as chair; a trustee of both the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Fund for Free Expression; a member of the board of governors for Yale University Press; and a board member of the National Book Foundation, which Hughes, along with a group of publishing executives including Simon & Schuster's Dick Snyder, founded in the 1980s to revive the struggling National Book Awards.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date.