David Shelley To Lead Hachette in Both the UK and USA

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

In a move to bring the US and UK Hachette divisions closer, London’s David Shelley is becoming CEO of both units.

David Shelley, for six years the CEO of London’s Hachette UK, in January will become CEO of both that house and Hachette Book Group, the United States installation. Image: Hachette Livre

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

Shelley: ‘Incredibly Honored’
In its announcement that Hachette UK CEO David Shelley will add the CEO role for the company’s United States’ division, Hachette Book Group, the publisher is making a move that some in international publishing will see as a logical way to bring more closely together two English-language components of a Big Four (in the UK) and Big Five (in the States) publishing house.

Michael Pietsch, until January the United States company’s CEO, is to retire in the new year and assume a new role as chair.

Shelley—an articulate speaker in FutureBook conference appearances in London and elsewhere, and a CEO who’s highly regarded in the London-based industry of the UK—could be seen by some as signing on for something akin to bookseller (and publisher) James Daunt’s remarkable retail leadership of both Waterstones in the UK and Barnes & Noble in the States. But of course, Daunt’s transatlantic agility is at the service of discrete companies, albeit both owned by Elliott.

Shelley is to report to Hachette Livre CEO and chair Arnaud Lagardère, and to Stéphanie Ferran Hachette Livre’s deputy CEO.

In a comment on the news of his impending bi-market responsibilities, Shelley is quoted, saying, “I’m incredibly honored to  be given this opportunity to lead Hachette Book Group as well as Hachette UK.”

He talks of looking forward to working with Richard Kitson, currently deputy CEO of Hachette UK and slated to join Shelley in major multitasking as deputy CEO of both Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK.

Shelley talks of working “to bring the two companies closer  together—to help each learn from the other, and to continually reach new readers. Hachette  Book Group publishes some of my favorite authors of all time and it’s hugely exciting to be  able to get to know them and work on their books with the talented team in the US.”

In reference to Pietsch’s move into the chairman’s role, Shelley says, “I’d like to pay special tribute to Michael, as he has been a key figure for me over the years. As  well as being a legendary editor, publisher, and CEO, he’s one of the most kind and thoughtful  people in our industry.

“I’m extremely pleased that he’ll be remaining as chairman for the  coming year and I look forward to working closely with him very much.” 

Pietsch: ‘Close Partnership’

Michael Pietsch. Image: Hachette Book Group, Kelly Campbell

CEO of the Stateside Hachette Book Group, Pietsch, as pointed out by Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris at The New York Times, in 2014 “led Hachette during its highly contentious negotiations with Amazon over ebook pricing. At a time of increasing consolidation in the book business, he oversaw the company’s growth spurt as it bought smaller publishers like Workman Publishing, Perseus Books. and Black Dog & Leventhal.”

Pietsch, in a comment on his coming transition to the chairman’s role, says, “I’m proud of everything that all of us at Hachette Book Group have  accomplished in the past decade, in close partnership with our authors—thriving, growing,  and reinventing ourselves through complex and challenging times.

“Working even more closely with our wonderful colleagues at Hachette UK, under David Shelley’s excellent leadership, will  make us an even stronger company, and I look forward to contributing to our future successes  in every way possible in my new role.

In addition to the Shelley and Pietsch changes, Joe Mangan, executive vice-president and COO will be leaving the company, having led Hachette Book Group’s  operational teams since joining the company in February 2014


More from us on Hachette Book Group is here, more on Hachette UK is here, more on the United States market is here, and more on the United Kingdom Market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson 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 (Fellow, 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.