John Makinson, who has served as Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino's financial director for six years, is stepping down from the post to become CEO of the Penguin Group, effective June 1. Makinson's appointment comes one week after David Wan, Penguin president, announced his plans to become president and CEO of Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Both Makinson and Scardino said Makinson's shift in responsibilities was the result of his desire to assume a more operational role within Pearson. He will continue as Penguin chairman and as a Pearson board member.
Makinson said his move to CEO had been in the works for some time, beginning with his appointment last year as Penguin chairman. Among his priorities at Penguin will be to encourage the different Penguin groups to cooperate more with one another and to get the entire Penguin Group to work more closely together with Pearson Education, something that is already taking place in Canada and Australia.
Makinson denied that his appointment means Pearson is dressing up Penguin for sale. "The board is 100% committed to Penguin," he said.