After an extended search, MIT Press announced that it has named Ellen W. Faran to succeed Frank Urbanowski as director of the press when Urbanowski retires at the end of January. Faran, who will join MIT January 6, is currently v-p and director of planning, finance and operations at Houghton Mifflin's trade and reference division. Before joining HM in 1996 Faran had been senior v-p, chief financial officer and general manager at Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
As director of the MIT Press for 27 years, Urbanowski was the driving force in building a publisher that had $2.6 million in revenue and published 135 books and four journals to a house with a staff of 120 that generates annual revenue of $22 million and publishes 220 titles and 37 journals. Areas of strength at MIT include architecture/arts, computer science and artificial intelligence, economics/finance, brain and cognitive science, neuroscience and environmental studies.
In addition to its print operations, MIT under Urbanowski was one of the first publishers to become involved with electronic publishing. A Kresge Foundation grant led to creating a typesetting operation built around a minicomputer, and in the late 1980s MIT developed a small desktop publishing operation that evolved into a full electronic printing process. MIT was also one of the first presses to launch its own Web site, and it published one of the first e-books City of Bits, in 1994.