In a dramatic turnaround, HarperCollins announced this morning that it is closing its Collins division and integrating its operations within different businesses in the General Books Group. As a result, Steve Ross, president and publisher of Collins, and Lisa Gallagher, senior v-p, and publisher of William Morrow, are leaving the company. Ross was brought over by Jane Friedman two years ago from Crown to rebuild the Collins brand. In addition to closing Collins, CEO Brian Murray issued a memo today saying that despite efforts to avoid layoffs, a reduction in the workforce will be necessary. “Given the continued uncertainty in the market and soft revenues for the company, we need to take further action to align our cost basis with expected revenues,” Murray wrote. “I have asked each division to evaluate their business and begin the process to meet this goal. Unfortunately, in some HarperCollins divisions, implementing these plans will result in a reduction in workforce.”

As for Collins, Michael Morrison, head of the General Books Group, outlined the changes to be made in the division in a memo, a portion of which is below.

"Harper, under the continued leadership of SVP, Publisher Jonathan Burnham, will expand to include the books on the Collins general non-fiction list, Collins Reference titles and Collins Business books. The Collins general non-fiction list will be published under the Harper imprint going forward. Collins Reference, both hardcover and paperbacks, will remain intact under Bruce Nichols, VP, Publisher of Collins Reference, who will also serve as Executive Editor at Harper. The Smithsonian program will continue under Elisabeth Dyssegaard. The Collins Business list will be published as Harper Business books going forward. Hollis Heimbouch, VP, Publisher, will continue to oversee the business books program and also become Executive Editor at Harper. Bruce, Elisabeth and Hollis will report to Jonathan, as will Executive Editor Adam Bellow and Senior Editor Ben Loehnen.

"Collins trade paperbacks, with the exception of Collins Reference and Collins Design, will be folded into Harper Perennial and Harper paperbacks under SVP, Publisher Carrie Kania. Collins Design’s VP, Publisher Marta Schooler and her entire team will now report to Carrie, and continue to publish under the Collins Design imprint. Additionally, to further strengthen our paperback program, the Avon trade paperback line will now fall under Carrie. Stephanie Meyers, Associate Editor, will join the group and report to Cal Morgan, VP, Editorial Director.

"Liate Stehlik will take over the role of SVP, Publisher of William Morrow/Eos/Avon, and will continue to oversee Avon and Harper mass market titles. Collins Living titles will be published as William Morrow books going forward and will now be part of the William Morrow imprint. Mary Ellen O’Neill will join this group as VP, Executive Editor, and take on the added responsibility of managing the William Morrow cookbooks program reporting to Liate. Senior Editor Matthew Benjamin and Editor Anne Cole will continue to report to Mary Ellen."