By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Lotinga: ‘Such an Important Industry’In London today (April 26), the Publishers Association (PA) has reported that CEO Stephen Lotinga will leave his post “later this year,” and Dan Conway will succeed him in the role. Conway is the organization’s director of external affairs.
In addition, the association has announced new top officers today at its afternoon annual general meeting: Bloomsbury’s Nigel Newton is becoming the organization’s new president, and Antonia Seymour, who is CEO of IOP Publishing, its vice-president.
Lotinga—who has been with the association for six-and-a-half years—is moving to Sky, the broadcast media and distribution corporation, as its group director of public affairs.
He’ll be remembered for helming the association at a time when politics and pestilence competed for chances to hobble the industry. Both Brexit and the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic rolled over the world’s second-largest English-language book publishing industry during his tenure, his background in government communications offices proving an asset even as last year’s review of the UK’s copyright regime was added to the load of challenges facing the British book business.
In a typically generous statement, Lotinga is quoted today, saying, “It’s been my absolute privilege to lead the Publishers Association for the last six years and to represent the interests of such an important industry. I’m so proud of all that’s been achieved in my time here, which has all only been possible due to the incredible PA team and the support of our members.
“I’m thrilled that Dan will be appointed as the new CEO and that this will allow a smooth transition, and for the organization to benefit from his significant expertise and knowledge. His contribution to the Publishers Association’s work has been immense, his understanding of the sector considerable. I know he will lead the organization brilliantly.”
Conway, for his part, is quoted, saying, “I am hugely excited to be taking on this role and continuing my work at the Publishers Association in this capacity. It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m grateful to the organization’s members for their belief in me. Stephen has been a brilliant leader and mentor and I’ve learned a vast amount from him. I can’t wait to get started.”
The association’s outgoing president, Hachette UK CEO David Shelley says, “Stephen has been an absolutely exceptional leader of the Publishers Association and has led the organization from strength to strength during his tenure.
“Dan has also contributed massively and his appointment to the position of CEO is testament to the enormous impact of the work he has led and the leadership qualities he has demonstrated in his current role.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome him to the role and marks an exciting new chapter for the organization.”
Newton: ‘Those Platforms’
In comments on becoming the association’s new president, Nigel Newton, Bloomsbury Publishing’s CEO, has referenced tech platforms—and business’ reliance on them—as a key focus of his interests in the office.
“It’s not in the long-term interest of readers, authors, or the UK’s world-leading publishing industry,” he says, “when that dependence can be exploited by those platforms. That’s why I am calling today on the government to live up to its commitments and bring forward legislation in the Queen’s Speech next month to give the digital markets unit at the Competitions and Markets Authority the power and the teeth it needs to do its job.
“This is the only way that we can ensure fairness reigns in negotiations between tech platforms and their suppliers as it now does in the grocery industry, since similar action was taken 13 years ago for that industry. I hope we’ll soon see action at a European level, with the EU already agreeing to legislation to regulate digital market ‘gatekeepers.’
“The dependency of our industry as a whole on large tech platforms as gatekeepers to our retail markets and the gross imbalance of power which this gives rise to need to be urgently addressed,” Newton has said to the association meeting.
“My message to the secretary of state for digital, culture, media, and sport is a simple one: as an author, you know how important books are to this country’s culture and economy. You must restrain the tech platforms through legislation now or we risk publishing’s future.
“At the same time as correcting this imbalance, we must acknowledge our huge good fortune that the tech platforms kept goods flowing to people’s doors even as they were locked down at home and other meeting platforms enabled working from home to flourish. But having a world-leading tech sector requires world-leading regulation.”
Seymour’s company, IOP Publishing, is a society-owned scientific house, a subsidiary of the Institute of Physics.
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.