Suzanne Herz, the executive v-p and publisher of Vintage/Anchor Books and executive director of publishing at Doubleday, will take a buyout at Penguin Random House, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group president and publisher Maya Mavjee wrote in a letter to staff on September 7. KDPG will, Mavjee added in a second memo, make a number of organizational changes in the division. Those changes include ending the Anchor hardcover publishing program in January, with other KDPG imprints taking over future publication of current Anchor Books hardcover titles, and the gradual move of Anchor paperback titles over to Vintage Books for further reprints.
The changes will effectively result in the phasing out of Anchor, which was founded in 1953 as an imprint of Doubleday, and is the oldest trade paperback publisher in America. The imprint has more than 16,000 backlist paperback titles that will be moved to Vintage, which Alfred A. Knopf launched in 1954 as a rival trade paperback publisher. (Vintage was acquired by Random House in 1960 as part of the acquisition of Knopf; Anchor was acquired as part of Random House's merger with Bantam Doubleday Dell, and folded in with Vintage.)
"This moment offers us an opportunity to further strengthen our focus on our rich and varied frontlist, which serves as the foundation for our incredible backlist," Mavjee wrote in her letter. "Our commitment to our authors, their books, and our employees remains the utmost priority."
Although no jobs will be lost as a result of the reorganization, it will result in a number of personnel moves in the division. As detailed in Mavjee's memo, those include:
- Beth Lamb, senior v-p and deputy publisher at Vintage, will report to Mavjee, and continue supporting Reagan Arthur, Bill Thomas, and Lisa Lucas on their frontlist paperback and backlist programs
- Gabrielle Brooks, v-p and associate publisher at Vintage and of the KDPG backlist, will report to Lamb in this newly created role
- James Meader, v-p and associate publisher of Vintage Backlist, will continue to work with the estates of KDPG authors and oversee Vintage Classics and Everyman’s Library, and will report to Lamb
- Diana Secker Tesdell, senior editor at Vintage Backlist, will continue reporting to Meader
- Jennifer Barth, senior v-p and executive editor at Knopf, will take on oversight of Vintage Originals, with all editors across KDPG contributing going forward
- Editors Anna Kaufman and Caitlin Landuyt and assistant editor Ellie Pritchett will report to Barth
- J. Edward Kastenmeier will join Doubleday as v-p and executive editor, reporting to Bill Thomas
- Chris Howard-Woods, assistant editor, will report to Kastenmeier and Thomas
- Brian Etling will move to Knopf as editorial assistant, reporting to Barth and Erroll McDonald
- Lauren Weber has been named director of brand development in the group, reporting to Kristin Fassler
- Jess Deitcher will join Doubleday as marketing director, reporting to Milena Brown
- Sophie Normil, marketing associate, will join Pantheon, reporting to Julianne Clancy
- Abby Endler, marketing manager, will join Knopf, reporting to Laura Keefe
- Morgan Fenton, marketing associate, will report to Judy Jacoby in KDPG's creative services department
- Sierra Figueroa, associate backlist manager, will report to Christine Hung
- Jordan Rodman will move to Knopf as senior director of publicity, still reporting to Todd Doughty and overseeing Vintage backlist publicity)
- Tricia Cave, senior publicity manager, and Anna Noone, publicity assistant, will move to Knopf, reporting to Erinn Hartman
- Julie Ertl, assistant director of publicity, will join Doubleday, reporting to Michael Goldsmith
- Demetri Papadimitropoulos, associate publicist, will join Pantheon, reporting to Michiko Clark
Herz will wrap up her 30-year career at PRH—which began at Putnam, as a publicist—on December 15, although Mavjee noted that she will continue to work with PRH in "an external, consulting role as John Grisham’s longtime publisher, overseeing his frontlist and backlist in concert with John’s Doubleday team." She was named publisher of Vintage/Anchor in 2019. Over the course of her 27 years at Doubleday in particular, Herz worked with authors including Mitch Albom, Margaret Atwood, Carl Bernstein, Dan Brown, Bill Bryson, Katie Couric, Mikhail Gorbachev, David Grann, Jane Green, Anita Hill, Jon Krakauer, Kevin Kwan, Ian McEwan, Erin Morgenstern, Lauren Weisberger, Colson Whitehead, and Hanya Yanagihara.
"She has touched every aspect of bookmaking and along the way her distinctive reading tastes (especially those as a thriller junkie), penchant for embracing debut writers, and innovative and inventive thinking—on scales both large and small—have centered on a book-and-author-first approach from the very beginning," Mavjee wrote of Herz.
"For the past 25 years Suzanne has published my novels, with some measure of success," Grisham wrote in a tribute to Herz included in Mavjee's letter. "On a professional level, our relationship rests on talent, experience, and creativity. On a personal level, it is grounded on trust, loyalty, and friendship. I cannot believe she is leaving Doubleday.”
Dan Brown added: “The first project Suzanne and I worked on together was a little book called The Da Vinci Code. I will never forget Suzanne summoning a unique fusion of creativity, instinct, and strategy to help spread that gospel across the country. In the two decades that followed, Suzanne continuously found clever ways to publish thrillers whose offbeat topics included the Freemasons, Dante Alighieri, and artificial intelligence. Somehow, she found the audience every time, and I feel fortunate to have worked not only with an exceptional talent, but with a friend.”