Michael Jacobs is stepping down as president and CEO of Abrams, and will be succeeded in those roles by Mary McAveney, currently chief revenue officer and chief marketing officer at Open Road Integrated Media. When McAveney officially assumes her role on November 28, she will be the first female CEO in Abrams history.
In naming McAveney Jacobs’ successor, Abrams pointed to her “leadership roles across diverse disciplinary teams” at Open Road, where “she has inspired innovation at the strategic and operational levels to achieve revenue and EBITDA growth and was instrumental in Open Road’s focus on data collection, direct-to-consumer relationships, and digital discovery.” McAveney also spearheaded Open Road’s purchase of Bloodhound Books in 2021.
Prior to her work for Open Road, McAveney held positions at Simon & Schuster, Zondervan, HarperCollins, and Abrams, where she previously worked in a marketing and sales position in 1992. “I am delighted to be joining Abrams again,” noted McAveney. “Coming back to one’s roots evokes very poignant feelings. Michael’s leadership of Abrams has set the bar high in the industry for so many years, and I am honored that he chose me to step into this role.”
Jacobs, who has been at Abrams for 19 years, will assume the role of executive chair of the board at Abrams and will remain on the board of Abrams & Chronicle Books in the U.K. He will also serve as an advisor to parent company Média-Participations, and will assist McAveney with the transition.
During Jacobs’ tenure at Abrams, the company expanding well beyond its roots as an illustrated book publisher. Under Jacobs, Abrams added more children’s books, including the mega-selling middle-grade series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, graphic novels and comic arts, and adult narrative nonfiction and fiction.
“Leading Abrams has been the culmination of my professional career,” said Jacobs. “In my time here, we have experienced astounding growth in our publishing, our people, and our culture.” He added: “The next steps in our evolution—both commercially and artistically—are still to be taken, and now is the perfect moment for Mary McAveney to help lead us into this phase of our growth. Along with my talented colleagues here at Abrams, I’m thrilled to welcome her.”
McAveney is being replaced at Open Road by Pete McCarthy, who has been director of consumer Insights at Ingram Content Group.