Italy’s Ricardo Levi Leads FEP; Sonia Draga Is First Woman Vice-President

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‘Books and reading are absolutely indispensable to our European democracy,’ Ricardo Levi says on taking the federation’s presidency.

Newly elected officers of the Federation of European Publishers are, from left, Sakari Laiho, Jessica Sänger, Ricardo Franco Levi, Sonia Draga, Catherine Blache, and Phaedon Kidoniatisù

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Sonia Draga Becomes FEP’s First Woman Vice-President
Media messaging from Brussels tells us that Ricardo Franco Levi, the current president of the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE), has today (November 4) been named president of the Federation of European Publishers.

The move has been anticipated, as Levi was made vice-president to Peter Kraus vom Cleff, the outgoing president and managing director of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association.

Lev has been made a special envoy of Rome, as well, to the Guest of Honor Italy program that the AIE is leading for Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22).

That news, coming from the federation’s general assembly, includes the word that Polish Chamber of Books president Sonia Draga—president of the publishing house Eponym—has been elected vice-president, and as such becomes the first woman to hold that position.

Federation statutes suggest that Draga will also become the organization’s first woman president, in 2024. (These are two-year terms.) In this, the trajectory of leadership at the federation echoes that seen in the International Publishers Association (IPA). There, the second woman president, Bodour Al QasimiAna Maria Cabanellas was the first, roughly 18 years ago—is being succeeded in January by Karine Pansa, whose vice-president is also a woman, Gvantsa Jobava.

More results of the assembly’s elections:

  • Phaedon Kidoniatis, representative of the Cooperation of Greek Publishers’ Associations and founder of Eurasia Publications, is treasurer
  • Catherine Blache of France’s Syndicat national de l’édition (SNE) is a new board member
  • Sakari Laiho of Suomen Kustannusyhdistys in Finland is a new board member
  • Jessica Sänger of the Börsenverein is also a new board member

In a prepared statement on today’s news, Levi is quoted, saying, “‘Following Peter Kraus vom Cleff’s and in previous presidents’ steps, I will commit to strengthen the representation of publishers at European level.

Ricardo Franco Levi

“I’ll bring my European experience and I look forward to continue having the voice of my fellow publishers heard and listened to by politicians and the commission’s officials.

“Books and reading are absolutely indispensable to our European democracy, and we must make sure that the EU and our national governments recognize the importance of our sector and support us through positive policies.

“During my presidency, I will also pursue Peter’s endeavor to help our Ukrainian colleagues remain a viable sector in a more than challenging and dramatic situation.”

Sonia Draga

Speaking for her new role, Draga says, “I’m extremely honored to have been elected … Publishers are cultural entrepreneurs. We’re facing challenges as entrepreneurs as for example, the current paper crisis and the bookshops’ closures, and as cultural actors, the pressure on the exclusive rights of our authors.

“The federation is an extremely important instrument for all of us publishers in Europe, to represent our united views and ensure that a free publishing sector is sustainable in the future. European publishers, individually and together as a federation, should continue to help Ukrainian publishers retain sufficient activities for their industry to survive–it’s crucial for their culture, freedom, and our joint European democracy.

“Indeed, we are living today in the world of fake news, so our role as publishers, is more essential than ever. Being the first woman being elected to that position is also significant and I’m delighted that our sector is becoming more inclusive.”

And Kraus Vom Cleff, the departing president, says of his two years at the helm of the federation,  “Working with European colleagues on all these important files has been extremely fulfilling these last four years, first as vice-president and then as president.

“Having one voice for European publishers is key to being heard, and together we can present the case for European publishers in Europe and in the world. I wish all the best to my successor, Ricardo Franco Levi and the newly elected board.”


More from us on the Federation of European Publishers is here, more on the International Publishers Association is here, and more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the global media partner of the International Publishers Association.

Follow our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing players and international industry reactions. 

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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