Harlequin’s long-time leader, Donna Hayes, will retire from the publishing house at the end of the year and be succeeded by Craig Swinwood, currently the chief operating officer for Harlequin North America. Swinwood, 50, has been at Harlequin for 26 years and will become publisher and CEO January 1.

In comments on the succession, David Holland, president and CEO of Harlequin parent company Torstar, observed that Hayes, “has led Harlequin from being a series romance publisher to becoming a broad-based publisher of women’s fiction and has demonstrated invaluable foresight in positioning Harlequin for a more digital future.”

Since joining Harlequin, Swinwood has served in a variety of sales and marketing roles before being appointed COO for North America. Holland pointed to Swinwood’ s role in growing Harlequin’s single title business, the development of the its nonfiction and teen strategies as well as its expansion into digital publishing and called him Hayes' "natural successor."