Angela Bole, current CEO of the trade association Independent Book Publishers Association, will leave that role on November 30 to take over as CEO of the publishing technology company Firebrand Group. At Firebrand, Bole will succeed company founder and CEO Fran Toolan on February 1, 2023. Toolan will remain on the Firebrand board.
Bole joined IBPA in 2014 after serving for three years as the treasurer of IDPF. Prior to joining IDPF, Bole held various positions with BISG—including a stint as interim executive director—where she spearheaded research into consumer attitudes toward e-book reading, oversaw initiatives supporting the industry’s transition to ISBN-13, and developed best practices and other documentation for use of the ONIX and EPUB standards. At IBPA, Bole is credited with raising the profile of the association, which now has more than 4,000 members.
“During her years leading IBPA, Angela has transformed the organization into the leading association for advocating and supporting the growing community of independent publishers,” said current IBPA board chair Karla Olson, director of Patagonia Books. “During the last two challenging years in particular, Angela made certain IBPA provided innovative and essential member support and increased efforts to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion within all aspects of the association.
Toolan started Firebrand Group in 1987 as Quality Solutions. Today, the Firebrand Group includes Firebrand Technologies, NetGalley, and Supadu. In February 2021, Firebrand was acquired by Media Do International (MD-i), the U.S.-based subsidiary of Japan’s Media Do Co., Ltd, one of the largest e-book distribution companies in the world.
“With the support of MD-i, the Firebrand Group is growing and innovating at an unparalleled rate of speed,” said Toolan. “The opportunities in front of us are very exciting, and I’m equally excited that Angela will be here to guide us going forward.”
With Bole’s pending departure, the IBPA board has established a CEO succession task force, led by incoming board chair Karen Pavlicin of Elva Resa, which will be charged with naming a selection team to manage the search, selection, and onboarding of a new CEO. That committee will be led by Olson, the outgoing board chair. IBPA hopes to have a shortlist of candidates by its August 19 board meeting, with a goal to onboard a new CEO prior to Bole 's November 30 exit.