Gordon Macomber, formerly president and CEO of the now defunct NYUOnline distance learning site, has been named CEO of dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster. Macomber will also have a seat on the board of directors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Merriam-Webster's parent company. Macomber was also president of Macmillan Reference USA and ran the academic and trade reference groups as well as encyclopedia imprints, Webster's New World Dictionary and online and print versions of Frommer's Travel Guides.

Macomber was upbeat on prospects for both the print and digital dictionary market. He pointed to "growth beyond our expectations," for the Merriam-Webster Web site (www.m-w.com), which offers both a free dictionary service and a subscription service. "The free site reports more than a million people a day and the subscription service is growing," said Macomber, which has led to growth in advertising revenue and subscription fees.

He also said the market for print dictionaries is "robust. Over the last seven years, M-W has been very aggressive in grabbing market share in a very segmented marketplace." And he noted that the Web site offers products to the billion people around the world that want to learn English.