Shelley and Nourry Headline Publishing Perspectives Forum

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The Publishing Perspectives Forum in Frankfurt this year features Hachette CEO David Shelley and Les Nouveaux Éditeurs’ chair and CEO Arnaud Nourry.

David Shelley, CEO of Hachette Book Group USA and Hachette UK, left, and Arnaud Nourry, Chairman and CEO of France’s Les Nouveaux Éditeurs

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

Two Top CEOs and Their Latest Insights
With the ticket shop having opened on Monday for Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 16 to 20), we want to apprise you today (July 9) that our two headliners in our Executive Talks for the 2024 Publishing Perspectives Forum at Frankfurt will be Hachette’s David Shelley (October 16) and Les Nouveaux Éditeurs’ Arnaud Nourry (October 17).

These are two major CEOs in world publishing, of course, who—despite the coincidence of Hachette connections for them both—in 2024 have come to represent at least two distinct directions in the evolution of the book business at international scale.

Among some of the talented, skillful, experienced, and most talked-about leadership figures in the world industry, each man has unique insights, responsibilities, concerns, and perspectives. Our live discussion with each man will give him a chance to speak in what is reliably the largest international audience of professional publishing colleagues in the world, the Frankfurt Book Fair universe of trade visitors.

We’re getting this news out today, so that our Frankfurt-bound readership can be sure to get these two appearances onto their schedules for the trade show before meetings and other events crowd the dates.

This year’s Publishing Perspectives Forum—now in its third season—moves to a new venue: Frankfurt Studio in Hall 4.0. This more central spot (you may remember the Business Club being set there if you’ve been going to Frankfurt for several years) offers easy access to our events from Messe Frankfurt’s Agora, which should help trade visitors get into and out of sessions in which they’d like to join us.

As usual, the programming we’re curating for the Publishing Perspectives Forum is available free of charge to all registered Frankfurt goers, and Frankfurt Studio is a setting in which you can slip in, take a seat for even a part of a presentation, and then dash away to a meeting when necessary. We all understand the pressure of meeting schedules at Frankfurt, of course.

Frankfurt’s Executive Talks, Basic Details
October 16, Frankfurt Wednesday
11:00-11:45 a.m.
Frankfurt Studio
Publishing Perspectives Forum Executive Talk

It was announced on November 15 that David Shelley, then the CEO of Hachette UK, would assume a new dual role as CEO of both Hachette Book Group in the United States while retaining the role of CEO for London’s Hachette UK. The move was occasioned Michael Pietsch’s plan to retire as the US Hachette Book Group CEO at the end of the year, Shelley assuming his new transatlantic responsibilities in January of this year.

Widely liked in the United Kingdom’s industry, and an approachable, energetic figure, Shelley is operating in a way more familiar to publishing professionals from the bookselling career of James Daunt, chief of Waterstones and Daunt Books (United Kingdom) and Barnes & Noble (United States).  The view from the two leading English-language publishing markets has been vested in one CEO, and many trade visitors will be looking forward to finding out how things look.

David Shelley started his career at the independent house Allison & Busby in 1997. He joined Little, Brown as editorial director in 2005. Initially commissioning mainly crime  and thriller novels and overseeing the audio and ebook lists, he became publisher of their commercial imprint Sphere in 2007, then overall Little, Brown publisher in 2011.

Authors he published include Mitch Albom, Mark Billingham, Carl Hiaasen, Dennis  Lehane, Val McDermid, and JK Rowling. He became CEO of Orion and Little, Brown in 2015, and in January 2018 became group CEO of Hachette UK, the second largest consumer publisher in the UK.

Shelley is a past president of the Publishers Association, a trustee of the Reading Agency, and a director of Tate Enterprises.

October 17, Frankfurt Thursday
11 – 11:45 a.m.
Frankfurt Studio
Publishing Perspectives Forum Executive Talk

The June announcement that Arnaud Nourry is forming a collective of independent publishers in Paris, Les Nouveaux Éditeurs, brought into the spotlight Nourry’s idea of “an independent, free-standing, and innovative group of publishing houses, dedicated to the service of authors, publishers, and creative talents of the French publishing industry.”

Innovative and eloquent, Nourry is always a canny speaker, like Shelley generous with his observations. Obviously ambitious, his new concept features an adamantly expressed, bracing focus on “talents that depend on a sustainable commitment to achieve success.”

The new group is being positioned as “a long-term undertaking,” Nourry has said, adding, “Kinship, like-mindedness, freedom, the long run, innovation, profitability are the words that come to mind as we launch Les Nouveaux Éditeurs.” Among the new venture’s tenets: “a substantial minority stake in their publishing house”; “best in class” contracts; sustainability and “ecosystem friendliness”; “diversity and accessibility”; “leading-edge technologies”; and “leadership by being a trailblazer in workplace and environmental practices.”

And of course Nourry comes to this from his well-known background at the helm of Hachette Livre, to be joined in an initially announced group of shareholders including Olivier Sulpice; Stéphane Distinguin; Ugo Nourry; Erik Maris; Emmanuelle Guilbart; and Ronald  Blunden.

A graduate of ESCP Europe (École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris), Arnaud Nourry joined the Lagardère Group in 1990 as management controller, which led to his becoming deputy financial director of Hachette Livre. In 1996, he participated in the acquisition of the Alexandre Hatier group, of which he became the managing director in 2000.

In 2002, he was responsible for managing the acquisition of certain publishing houses of the Vivendi Universal Publishing group during the sale, and in 2003, he was appointed chair and CEO of Hachette Livre—then the 15th largest publishing group in the world by size with a turnover of €800 million (US$865 million).  In 18 years, Nourry had brought it to second place worldwide with a turnover of €2.7 billion (US$2.9 billion), and multiplied its EBIT by more than four to €350 million (US$378.5 million), making the group, already the leading French publisher, the second largest in England and the fourth largest in the United States.

Nourry left Hachette Livre in 2021 in disagreement with a plan to merge Hachette Livre with Editis, which, his team points out, ultimately never saw the light of day.

Nourry was president of the ESCP-Europe Alumni, and is a member of the Board of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), the body that manages the Investec Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup.

On this simplified ground plan of halls at Messe Frankfurt, the location of Frankfurt Studio in Hall 4.0 is indicated in yellow

More on Publishing Perspectives Forum at Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on international trade shows and book fairs is here, and more on publishing conferences and events in the international trade industry 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 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.