Jürgen Boos, 43, who becomes the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair April 1, was a dark-horse candidate not well known even in the German publishing world, but he has extensive international experience, which should reassure the many nervous foreign exhibitors and attendees of the world's largest book fair.

Boos succeeds Volker Neumann, who has been director since 2002. The fair owners said they expect Neumann to work "in office parallel to Boos" until Neumann's contract runs out at the end of this year. But many people who know Neumann doubt that he will stick around to finish his term. Both Boos and Neumann were on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Since 1997, Boos has been a member of the executive board, responsible for marketing, sales and distribution, at the German branch of John Wiley & Sons. Before that, he worked in marketing and national and international sales at Lange & Springer Science Bookstores, whose headquarters are in Berlin.

Frankfurt's board president, Juergen Treeck, who surprised the publishing community last year when he declined to renew Neumann's contract, said he was happy to have found "an executive with a proven track record in book publishing and marketing."