Don Weisberg is stepping down as president of Penguin Young Readers Group to become president of Macmillan Publishers U.S. He will be succeeded at Penguin by Jen Loja, who was previously senior v-p and associate publisher of the young readers group.
At Macmillan, Weisberg will oversee the different publishing divisions, the audio and podcast businesses, and the trade sales organization. He will start at the beginning of January and report to Macmillan CEO John Sargent.
In making the Weisberg announcement, Sargent explained that with the growth of Macmillan’s trade business and his own new responsibilities, “it is clear that the U.S. business needs a dedicated senior executive to lead our publishing efforts.” In August, Sargent was named executive v-p of Macmillan parent company Holtzbrinck, overseeing the company’s higher education business while continuing to run global trade. Andrew Weber, COO of Macmillan, and Ken Michaels, who was named CEO of Macmillan Learning this summer, will continue to report to Sargent.
Weisberg’s move to Macmillan is the latest turn in a career that began in 1980 as a Bantam sales rep. He worked his way up to become head of Bantam Doubleday Dell’s sales and merchandising division and was named president of the Random House sales group after Random House was acquired by Bertelsmann and merged with BDD in 1998. He was promoted to COO of RH and left the company in 2007, before taking the job of president of Penguin Young Readers Group in 2008. PRH CEO Markus Dohle credited Weisberg with improving the performance of Penguin’s children’s operation, in part by overseeing the breakout of John Green as a megaselling author, introducing John Grisham’s Theodore Bone series, reinvigorating the Penguin Young Readers backlist, and publishing a wide range of prize-winning authors.
In his memo to PRH’s employees announcing the change in leadership at Penguin Young Readers, Dohle wrote that choosing Loja to replace Weisberg was “as natural as it is obvious.” Loja has been at Penguin Young Readers for seven years and was promoted to her most recent position this summer. In the announcement, Dohle observed, “Her promotion is a logical evolution and expansion of her current responsibilities, and a recognition of the crucial role she has played side by side with Don as his deputy in the transformation of Penguin Young Readers into one of children’s publishing’s great powerhouses.”
Since the merger of Penguin and Random House, PRH has operated two children’s divisions, and Dohle said that will continue. Loja, as Weisberg did, will report to Dohle; Barbara Marcus remains president of Random House Children’s Books and will continue to report to Dohle as well.