Richard Johnson is stepping down from his position as group CEO of U.K.-based Bonnier Publishing (which is a subsidiary of Sweden’s Bonnier Books) after nearly nine years in the role. He is leaving the company immediately. Jim Zetterlund, who is currently COO and CFO of Bonnier Books, has been named acting CEO.
No explanation was offered for Johnson's departure.
“[Bonnier Publishing] has reached a pivotal point in its history,” Zetterlund said in a press release announcing the change. “It has secured a strong foothold in the market and now it’s time to increase our focus on fiction and narrative non-fiction and we will establish Bonnier Publishing as a fully-fledged publisher. Commercial non-fiction and value driven publishing will continue to be an important part of our portfolio.”
Johnson was an accountant who joined the publishing industry after assisting Bonnier in the 1999 acquisition of the children's publisher Autumn House. In recent years, Johnson became known for his bold statements and moves. He backed, for example, the company's ten book mega-deal with author Wilbur Smith, one rumored to have been valued in excess of £10 million.
Bonnier Publishing expanded to the U.S. in 2014 with Little Bee Books. The U.S. operations were relaunched as Bonnier Publishing USA under the director of CEO Shimul Tolia. At the time of the company's formation, Johnson said the goal was to reach $100 million in sales by 2019.
This article was corrected to attribute the final statement about the financial goal of Bonnier Publishing USA to Richard Johnson and not Shimul Tolia.