Thomas Nelson has announced that chairman and CEO Michael Hyatt has stepped down as CEO, a position he has held for almost six years. Mark Schoenwald, who had been president and COO, will succeed Hyatt in the CEO role while Hyatt will continue to serve as chairman of the board. The promotion puts Schoenwald in charge of Nelson's day-to-day operations.

In a statement Hyatt said, “Mark Schoenwald is esteemed by employees, authors, and customers. He is direct and willing to make the tough decisions, but at the same time humble and committed to our Christian mission. He has proven time and again that he can succeed in a tough environment. He is the right CEO to take Nelson into a new era.” Schoenwald joined Nelson in 2005 as chief sales officer after serving as president of home décor, garden, and gift companies including New Creative Enterprises, One Coast Network, and Kennedy Group.

Schoenwald stated, “Thomas Nelson is focused on growth and we strive to be the leading producer of Christian content and inspirational live events. We will continue to transform the company as we leverage the strengths of our traditional print business while implementing new digital publishing strategies.”

Hyatt has long engaged in writing and speaking activities and that will be his new focus. On his blog, Hyatt wrote, “I want to spend more time externally focused: writing, speaking, and pursuing other business interests. … I was finding it increasingly difficult to give expression to my gifts while running a company the size of Thomas Nelson.”