In a surprise announcement this morning, Holtzbrinck announced that John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, will leave Macmillan and its parent, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, on January 1. Don Weisberg, president of Macmillan US Trade, has been named to succeed Sargent as CEO of Macmillan Publishers, while Susan Winslow, general manager of Macmillan Learning, will head that division as president. In addition to overseeing all of Macmillan, Sargent was an executive v-p of Holtzbrinck.
In making the announcement, Holtzbrinck said Sargent’s departure is due to “disagreements regarding the direction of Macmillan.”
"The family shareholders, the supervisory board, my colleagues and I thank John Sargent deeply for making Macmillan a strong and highly successful publishing house and for his most helpful advice," Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of the Holtizbrinck Publishing Group, said in a statement. "John’s principles and exemplary leadership have always been grounded in worthy, essential causes, be it freedom of speech, the environment, or support for the most vulnerable. Since Holtzbrinck shares these ideals, they will live on."
The move comes after more than a year of ups and downs for Macmillan, including a long-running saga over a library e-book embargo, a major controversy over the publication of Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt by Flatiron, a slew of layoffs in the immediate wake of the pandemic, and the emergence of an industry-wide day of protest that was first organized by Macmillan employees.