Penguin Random House U.S. CEO Madeline McIntosh has announced the new leadership team for both Alfred A. Knopf, Pantheon, and Schocken, as well as for the entire Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. The appointments come a little more than three weeks after the death of Sonny Mehta, who was editor-in-chief of Knopf and chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
In replacing Mehta as head of Knopf, McIntosh reached outside the PRH family, naming Little, Brown senior v-p and publisher Reagan Arthur as executive v-p and publisher of Knopf, Pantheon, and Schocken. Arthur will move to PRH on February 11.
In her memo to PRH employees announcing the appointment, McIntosh wrote that in discussing the future of Knopf with Mehta he had “identified Reagan Arthur as his first choice” to lead Knopf. McIntosh cited the “range and breadth of [Arthur’s] editorial expertise and her leadership qualities” as key to her belief that Arthur is the right person succeed Mehta at Knopf. “Her writers think the world of her, as do her colleagues,” McIntosh continued. “She has a proven track record and a reputation that means her recommendations are trusted by sales reps and booksellers alike.”
In an interview, Arthur said she was surprised when Mehta first approached her about joining Knopf. “I knew him a little and there were a number of authors we both admired,” Arthur said. “It was an interesting series of conversations,” she added. “I was happy where I was.” Arthur said Mehta told her he thought her success in publishing both literary and commercial authors at Little, Brown was something that was important for her to continue at Knopf.
Arthur said she considered it a “huge honor” to be only the fourth person to oversee Knopf. “The house has such great authors and a great tradition,” she said. Her first order of business will be to get to better know Knopf’s “amazing staff” and then to “dive in to publish the books on the list.” Her longer term goal is to “reach out to find new voices to continue the great storytelling that Knopf is known for.” She added: “I’m leaving a place I love for a place I expect to love.”
In her new role at PRH, Arthur will be reporting to Maya Mavjee, who McIntosh is bringing back to the company as president and publisher for the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Mavjee had been president and publisher of the Crown Publishing Group until leaving the company at the end of 2018 as part of a restructuring. Since March 1, 2019, Mavjee has been president of publishing strategy at Macmillan. Mavjee, who will start at PRH on March 2, will report to McIntosh, and will represent the group on PRH U.S.’s board.
In addition to Arthur, also reporting to Mavjee will be Bill Thomas, executive v-p, publisher, and editor-in-chief of Doubleday, and Suzanne Herz, executive v-p and publisher of Vintage Anchor and director of publishing of Doubleday. Herz will also oversee departments that provide services across all Knopf Doubleday imprints.
With a new structure in place, McIntosh said that Tony Chirico, president of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, will now report to her “in a corporate capacity on an interim basis. He will be working with Maya to transfer his deep knowledge and expertise based on his three decades working with these lists, and he will be working with me on initiatives related to the company as a whole.”
McIntosh also announced that Jordan Pavlin, who worked with Mehta for 23 years, has been promoted to senior v-p and editorial director of Alfred A. Knopf, reporting to Arthur. Also reporting to Arthur will be Paul Bogaards, recently promoted to executive v-p and deputy publisher.
With Arthur’s departure, Michael Pietsch, CEO of LB parent company Hachette Book Group, said a search for a new LB publisher “begins immediately.” Arthur joined LB in 2001 as senior editor, founded her Reagan Arthur Books imprint in 2010, and became LB’s senior v-p and publisher in 2013.