New health problems have forced Peter Jovanovich to step down as chief executive of Pearson Education. Jovanovich, who joined Pearson in 1997, had taken a six-month leave of absence last year to recover from a double lung transplant. Jovanovich returned to work last summer, but time demands related to his recovery and treatment forced him to go on long-term medical leave.

During his tenure at Pearson, Jovanovich helped build the company into one of the world's largest educational publishers. Pearson made two huge acquisitions under his watch—the 1998 purchase of Simon & Schuster's educational and professional businesses and the 2000 acquisition of the testing and training company NCS. Will Ethridge, president of the higher education, international and professional group, and Steve Dowling, head of Pearson's school division, will now report directly to Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, as will George Werner, chief financial and operations officer.