By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Malaviya: ‘To Set Us Up for Future Growth’Our Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that at the time Markus Dohle announced his plan to leave Penguin Random House as its worldwide CEO, the company’s strategy and operations lead, vice-president Nihar Malaviya, was made interim CEO, starting at the top of this year.
Today (February 28), Malaviya has announced to staffers a series of leadership moves in a reorganization he says is “designed to meet market challenges and set us up for future growth.”
Because of Penguin Random House‘s reach across so many markets, these changes, based in the United States operation, have the potential to be felt by many publishing professionals who make up our world readership. At Publishing Perspectives, we limit our coverage of personnel changes to top-level figures such as these in internationally influential positions, simply because our own scope embraces such a broad field beyond any single market.
Malaviya notes that the CEOs of each of Penguin Random House’s international divisions—they sit on the “global executive committee”—are continuing to report to him, as will heads of international support areas.
Having assessed the company since taking up his new role in December, Malaviya today writes, “Books and the people who make them are at the heart of what we do. Our editors’ ability to aggressively pursue the works they are most passionate about, and the autonomy and independence of our divisions and imprints, is what drives our business and ensures our success.
“Therefore, we will expand the number of adult publishing divisions from three to four, creating the newly formed Random House and Crown Publishing Groups.”
The first promotion he cites sees Sanyu Dillon move from chief marketing officer to president of the Random House Publishing Group. In that position, Dillon will be overseeing imprints including Random House; Dial Press; Hogarth; Modern Library; One World; Ballentine Bantam Dell/Delacorte; Random House Worlds; Harmony/Rodale; Convergent; and WaterBrook & Multnomah.
Dillon has been with Penguin Random House since 2004, and became chief marketing officer in 2020.
Malaviya next reports that he’s promoting David Drake to president of the Crown Publishing Group and standing that group up as its own entity, rather than as part of the Random House group. Crown was combined with Random House in 2018.
Drake will be overseeing Crown, Currency, Clarkson Potter, and Ten Speed Press, having begun working with Penguin Random House in 1999 in publicity.
Ten years later, he’d move to the Crown group and become its executive vice-president and deputy publisher from 2013 to 2018, being made president in 2021.
Standing divisions under this new configuration, then, are:
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (Maya Mavjee, president and publisher)
- Random House Publishing Group (led by Dillon)
- Crown Publishing Group (led by Drake)
- Penguin Publishing Group (Allison Dobson, president)
- Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group (Amanda Dobson, president)
Malaviya: ‘Our Next Chapter Together’
Jeff Abraham becomes president of publishing operations, technology, and services, additionally leading IT, publishing operations, and “PRH Labs.”
Malaviya writes that Abraham “has been a key part of the operations leadership team over the past 17 years, working closely with all corporate teams and in all areas,” and refers to his work in overseeing the PRH Client Services business, “which provides sales, distribution, and a wide variety of services to many of the leading independent publishers in the book industry.”
With Dillon moving to Random house, Erica Curtis is being promoted to senior vice-president of consumer marketing.
Curtis, Malaviya writes, had been instrumental in the use of data in B2C developments, holding “various roles, with a focus on reaching and serving the consumer and driving growth through data-driven marketing and insights.” She has, he writes, “been central in expanding marketing capabilities across the company and instilling a consumer-focused mindset.”
And Curtis will be reporting to Jaci Updike, who is being promoted to president for sales and marketing, maintaining her seat on the US company board. Updike now will report to Malaviya.
She has been working with the company since 1989, establishing her leadership in the sales group. One of her reports will be John Bohman, senior vice-president for sales and customer operations.
“By bringing these departments together,” Malaviya writes, “our goal is to become even more reader-focused and market facing.
“Our impressive title marketing teams will remain at the divisional and imprint levels—this does not impact their strategies or reporting lines.”
Malaviya refers to this leadership roster as “an incredibly talented, experienced team of leaders with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. At a time of significant change for the largest of the Big Five, he writes, “To position ourselves for future growth, I have chosen to elevate this executive team to lead the US business and work directly with me—and with all of you—as we write our next chapter together.”
More from Publishing Perspectives on Penguin Random House is here, and more from us on Bertelsmann, PRH’s parent company, is here.