In an unexpected move, Phaidon, a publisher best known for its lavishly produced art books, has hired Judith Regan as the CEO of a new division at the company called Regan Arts. Phaidon said the division will include a book imprint, but will also function as a "multimedia enterprise."

Regan, who has a reputation as a publisher of highly commercial work, was infamously fired in 2006 from her job overseeing her eponymous imprint at HarperCollins. (In the dust-up, Regan was ousted from Regan Books over conflicts with Rupert Murdoch, and then HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman, after Regan acquired O.J. Simpson's book, If I Did It.) Regan's past hits run the gamut from lauded literary fiction by authors like Wally Lamb to books by celebrities and pop culture fixtures, such as the burlesque dancer, Dita Von Teese, and the talk show host, Howard Stern.

Speaking to the new venture, Regan said she is "thrilled" to partner with Phaidon and "grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a gifted team."

Phaidon's owners, Leon and Debra Black, said that they are "confident the great energy, enthusiasm and skill Judith brings to this new collaboration will yield a powerful influence on the industry." (Leon Black is CEO of the private-equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC, and acquired Phaidon in October 2012.)

Asked for more details about the division, Phaidon said that, at this time, it has no further comment.