Kathryn Court, who has served as president and publisher of Penguin Books since 2000, is retiring after 42 years at the publishing house. She will be succeeded beginning in January 2020 by Brian Tart, president and publisher of Viking Books, who will take on additional and concurrent responsibilities as president and publisher of Penguin Books.
Court’s retirement will take effect at the end of the year. Tart was appointed to head Viking in 2015, and before that was president and publisher of the Dutton, Avery, and Gotham imprints.
In addition to Tart’s appointment, Patrick Nolan, formerly v-p, editor-in-chief, and associate publisher of Penguin Books, has been promoted to v-p and deputy publisher of Penguin. Newly reporting to Nolan will be Victoria Savanh, associate editor at Penguin Books. In addition, Elda Rotor, v-p and publisher of Penguin Classics, will now report to Tart. The rest of the Penguin Books and Penguin Classics editorial staff will continue to report in their current fashion. The Penguin Press hardcover editions program will now report to Ann Godoff, president and editor-in-chief of Penguin Press.
Court joined Penguin Books in 1977, rising to editorial director in 1979 and editor-in-chief of Viking Penguin by 1984. She was named senior v-p, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Penguin Books in 1992, and added the title of president in 2000.
Court has been credited for a devotion to discovering and developing new writers, and kept a particular focus on the international market. Among the writers she has edited and published are South African novelist and Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, novelist John le Carré, fiction writer and playwright Mary McGarry Morris, Irish fiction author and playwright William Trevor, and novelist Rebecca Makkai.
In a note of tribute to Court, Penguin Publishing Group president Allison Dobson wrote: “Kathryn has never stopped challenging herself to do more for our authors and for ourselves. In shaping Penguin’s culture, she has set a high standard for creativity and results we always will strive to build upon. We will celebrate Kathryn together this fall, and I know you will reach out to her individually in the coming weeks in gratitude for fostering a love of books among us, and for broadening our literary and publishing horizons.”
Correction: in an earlier version of this story it was incorrectly noted who Elda Rotor will now report to.