Judith Curr has been named president and publisher of Pocket Books, where she will replace Gina Centrello, who recently became her new boss at Ballantine.

Curr, who came over from Transworld in Australia in 1996 as senior v-p and editor-in-chief at Ballantine, became publisher a year later. She supervised all the Ballantine imprints, including Fawcett, Ivy, One World and House of Collectibles. Bestsellers she brought aboard there included titles by Ed Klein, Jackie Chan and Lorrie Morgan (with George Vecsey). Among the authors she acquired for paperback were Caleb Carr, Sue Miller, Elizabeth Berg, P.D. James and Monty Roberts.

Jack Romanos, S&S president, said Curr will be responsible for all sales, marketing and editorial functions at Pocket Books, and will report to him; she will also be a member of the S&S executive committee. He called her "one of the bright lights of today's publishing world."

Curr told PW she made the move from Ballantine because she felt "it was time to run something. Opportunities like this are rare." Curr said she will use her first 100 days at Pocket to "figure out what direction I want to move in," and added, "It will be nice to be at a place where you are the only paperback partner." Curr also noted that she is eager to "try out some theories I have about the mass market industry." A weak performance by Pocket's mass market operation dragged down results at S&S in 1998.

Curr takes up her new duties on April 12. Centrello told PW she'll take over the position of Ballantine publisher.