Newly appointed Macmillan Computer Publishing president Doug Bennett acknowledged that the long sale process of its parent company, Simon &Schuster, took a toll on the company in 1998. The uncertainty surrounding MCP intensified when the proposed deal with Hicks, Muse, Tate &Furst fell through. "Some of our competitors were able to take advantage of the disruptions last year," Bennett told PW. But Bennett said he feels certain that the subsidiary will be a valued part of Pearson, and that Pearson "will give us the resources to grow the business."

The collapse of the Hicks, Muse deal led to the departure of a number of top MCP executives, including Scott Flanders and David Israel, making the creation of a new management team the first step in revitalizing the company. Bennett was named president of MCP late last year (News, Jan. 11) and the rest of the management staff is now in place, including Jim Price, v-p and publisher of Que; Lynn Zingraf, publisher of BradyGames; Stacy Hiquet, v-p/publisher of Macmillan Software; and Gregg Bushyeager, director of Macmillan Online. All report to Bennett, who in turn reports to William Oldsey, president of Pearson's education, business and professional groups.

Bennett admitted that while he expects 1999 to show improvement over 1998, the company will need to engage in some "damage control" this year; however, he is looking for the company to "break out" in 2000.

According to Bennett, his mission is to make MCP "a technology-based product company" that will publish materials in various formats. Indeed, Bennett's background is in software and Internet publishing; prior to being promoted to his current position, he was president of Macmillan Digital Publishing. Bennett anticipates that most of MCP's books will come either packaged with a CD-ROM or offer Internet access. "We plan to be responsive to the marketplace," Bennett said, adding that with 550 employees, MCP has become "a more nimble company."

MCP will continue to maintain separate sales forces to market its computer books and software products, but Bennett noted that the company has begun an experiment with some of its reps selling the full line of MCP's books and software. The company is also testing the sale of software through