Peter Jovanovich, head of Pearson Education, returned to work on a part-time basis last week. Jovanovich, who had been suffering from a progressive lung disease, underwent a double lung transplant March 9. He has been on a leave of absence since December.

"Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe what really happened, happened," Jovanovich said. "So far I've been lucky in my recovery." Over the next few months, Jovanovich will, in consultation with his doctors, gradually build up his time in the office. If all goes well, he will resume domestic plane travel later this year and could return to international travel in 2005. "I've been in publishing all my life," Jovanovich said on why he decided to return to work. "It's hard not to publish books."

While Jovanovich was away, Pearson Education had a good start to the year, executives said at Pearson's annual meeting. Pearson's American elhi business has been doing well in a weak adoption year, led by sales of math programs. Executives said they expect Pearsons's elhi business "to be broadly in line with 2003, as the recovery in state budgets and federal No Child Left Behind funds help our testing and digital learning businesses."

Growth in Pearson's U.S. higher education business is expected to grow in the 4%—6% range this year, helped by both print and online programs, executives said.

Pearson's Penguin unit "has made an encouraging start," executives said, although they added that the company faces tough comparisons after a record 2003. Results will be affected by the weak U.S. dollar, Penguin said, but with another strong second-half publishing schedule, "we expect Penguin to grow ahead of its market once again."