The Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU) board of directors has named Kirsty Melville its new CEO. Melville is the third person in the multifaceted company's 54-year history to assume the role, in which she will oversee "all AMU operations" while also continuing to serve as president and publisher of Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP). She replaces outgoing CEO Andy Sareyan, who worked closely with Melville for the last nine years.

"I’m leaving AMU in remarkably capable hands,” Sareyan said in a statement, adding that Melville brings "a rare combination of results-oriented drive, a deft creative touch, mastery of the publishing world, and insatiable curiosity to explore new things" to the role.

A native of Australia, Melville joined AMP in 2005 as publisher and executive v-p, and is credited with helping to drive the continued success of the publisher's comics and humor categories with Andrews McMeel Syndication, including the introduction of The Calvin and Hobbes Portable Compendium, the Big Nate middle grade graphic novel series, and the reissue of the nation’s bestselling calendar, The Far Side Off-the-Wall Calendar. She was named president in 2009, in which role she oversaw the launch of a host of expanded efforts, including in children's books and poetry. Over the past decade, AMP has a emerged as a major poetry publisher, with bestsellers including Rupi Kaur's milk and honey, the sun and her flowers, and homebody, which have reportedly sold more than 11 million copies to date.

In a statement, AMU Chairman Hugh Andrews praised Melville's leadership. "Her initiatives have enabled AMP to grow in unprecedented ways, advancing a culture of excellence and cultivating relationships with creators, associates, and business partners to our great advantage for many years," Andrews said. "I am confident that in her expanded role as CEO she will continue to address challenges, seek new opportunities, and fuel AMU’s success across our publishing, syndication, digital, and entertainment divisions.”

In her own statement, Melville said she was "energized and excited" to take on the role of CEO, which is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. Founded in 1970 by Jim Andrews and John McMeel to distribute Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury comic, the company remains privately held and family-owned.

"AMU is an extraordinary global media company distinguished by its creator-first vision, remarkable leadership team, outstanding associates, and rich and varied content offerings that entertain people and enrich lives," Melville said. "I am honored to build upon the outstanding legacy established by the Andrews and McMeel families and AMU’s boundless potential. I look forward to focusing my energy on AMU’s continued growth and future success in each of its divisions."