Despite the pending January departures of two top executives from Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch said that it remains an important HBG division. He reiterated that GCP will continue to be a separate, vital imprint that will still publish a range of commercial fiction and nonfiction books.
Last week, HBG announced that Jamie Raab, GCP president and publisher, will leave at the end of January after 30 years with GCP and its predecessor company, Warner Books. In addition, Deb Futter, v-p and editor-in-chief of Hardcovers for GCP and publisher of Twelve, will leave at the end of next month.
“We had two executives choose to leave at the same time for their own reasons, but there is nothing going on behind the curtain,” Pietsch said. “This doesn’t reflect any change of strategy or direction. GCP will continue to do the type of books it always has and I will be looking for a leader who can carry on its tradition.” Sources said that Raab and Futter’s contracts were both up at the end of December. Pietsch said that he hopes to have a successor in place before Raab departs. The new person will hire a replacement for Futter.
Raab was named publisher of GCP in 1998 and president in 2013, after joining Warner Books as an editor in 1986. When Warner Communications merged with Time Inc., Raab made the transition to Time Warner Books and then made the move to Hachette when the French publisher bought the Time Warner Book Group. Shortly after that acquisition, Raab oversaw the rebranding of Warner Books as Grand Central Publishing in 2007 (Hachette does not own the Warner name).
Under Raab, GCP launched the Grand Central Life & Style and Twelve imprints and expanded its romance program under the Forever imprint. In his letter to HBG employees, Pietsch cited the long list of bestselling authors for whom Raab was both editor and publisher, among them Sandra Brown, Stephen Colbert, Nelson DeMille, and Jon Stewart. In the letter, Pietsch said that Raab has led GCP “with dedication and passion” and had “a long record of success.”
“I’ve had a terrific career here, and after a three-decade tenure, the time seems right to step down,” Raab said in a statement.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the date that Raab and Futter's contracts expired.