Harry Abrams moved quickly to replace departed president Steven Parr by naming Michael Jacobs president and CEO. Jacobs will join Abrams June 3 and will be in the publisher's booth at BookExpo America.
Jacobs, who's never worked in illustrated publishing, noted that Abrams has both children's and adult lists, encompassing his own background. After working as a consultant these last few months, he said he wasn't expecting a full-time job to come up so soon, but said "the more I talked to folks, the more appealing it became." This is the first time the Viking, Free Press and, most recently, Scholastic veteran will serve as a CEO. Jacobs resigned as senior v-p of Scholastic's trade division in January.
Jacobs said he had gotten the impression from talking to the owner, the Paris-based La Martiniere group, that Abrams is a publisher both in the black and committed to growth. The house is at a pivotal moment, he said, though not one as urgent as in 2002 when Parr joined the company. "Steve [Parr] was perfectly suited to what the company needed to do at the time—to look at things and get the financial house in order," he said of his predecessor. "The next step is to keep it on the profitable road and expand its illustrated presence." He acknowledged that the high-end market remains weak, but said the house is diversifying and will continue to do so.