In two major changes at its Canadian subsidiary, HarperCollins is transfering the fulfillment of its titles in Canada from its own warehouse near Toronto to R.R. Donnelley. The move will result in the departure of David Kent, currently president and CEO of HC Canada, at the end of the year.
The change to Donnelley follows a similar switch HC made in the U.S. in 2011, when it closed several of its American warehouses and moved fulfillment to the printer. HC said that it anticipates that all warehousing--as well as pick, pack, and ship services--for all HarperCollins Canada titles will be transferred to Donnelley’s Plainfield, Ind., distribution facility by summer 2015. At that time, it will close its Canadian warehouse.
Canadian customer service, credit, collection, IT, finance, and freight services functions will be handled by HC from its office in Moosic, Pa., where a customer support team will be maintained for HarperCollins Canada customers. All returns will be consolidated in Canada and forwarded to the HC returns center in LaPorte, Ind.
The move to Donnelley also means that HC will be leaving the distribution business in Canada (as it did in the U.S., when it switched fulfillment to Donnelley). HC Canada has about eight distribution clients, and the company said it will work with them to "facilitate a smooth transition.”
The change does not apply to Harlequin titles, which will continue to be handled through Harlequin’s Buffalo, NY, warehouse.
Despite the changes in its fulfillment and backoffice operations, HC president and CEO Brian Murray said the company remains committed to maintaining an active Canadian publishing program. “There is no pulling back on our Canadian publishing activities,” Murray said. “We have the same level of commitment and expectations for growth.”
The company has promoted Iris Tupholme, who has been at HC Canada for more than 20 years, to senior v-p and executive publisher. Leo MacDonald has also been promoted, moving up to senior v-p, marketing and sales. Together, they will oversee the business in Canada, with Tupholme reporting to Michael Morrison, president and publishers of U.S. General Books and Canada, and MacDonald to Josh Marwell, HC president of sales. (Kent had reported to Morrison.)
Kent has headed HC Canada since 2001, and is widely known and respected in Canadian publishing circles. HC noted that under his leadership the company “achieved over a decade of growth,” while winning numerous publishing awards.
Murray said the changes are not the result of the Harlequin acquisition and, instead, reflect a continuation of HC's plan to improve the efficiency of its North American supply chain. HC began this shift three years ago in the U.S. with its trade titles, and then with Zondervan and Thomas Nelson. “Canada is the next step,” Murray said.