Jack Hoeft, former chairman and CEO of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, has been appointed chairman and CEO of the Popular Group. Based in New York City, the new company will provide a number of representative functions to the publishing community on behalf of its three member companies: Anderson Merchandising, Anderson News Company and American Wholesale Book Company. In addition to Hoeft, Popular Group staff includes former BDD, Random House and Simon & Schuster sales executive David Lappin, who is senior v-p for merchandising; and Jane Leventhal, former publisher of the Jim Henson Co., who will develop publishing projects. George Maina, formerly of BDD, will serve as v-p of finance and administration for the new company.

According to Hoeft, the "number one purpose" of the group is to improve the supply chain by developing strategic partnerships with publishers on behalf of the group's members. Hoeft said many of the Popular Group's programs are being finalized, while others are still being developed. Hoeft is already making the rounds to major New York houses to discuss a wide range of opportunities to enhance performance standards in efficiency, profitability and growth, one publisher at a time. "Each partnership is unique in its scope of needs and potential," said Hoeft, explaining the need for focused conversations. "We feel there are a wide range of initiatives that both we and publishers agree can have significant benefit to all parties, in improving the way we do business as well as the end result."