Friday, September 28, 2007

Bloomsbury lures Charkin for post-Harry future BLOOMSBURY HAS ANNOUNCED the surprise appointment of Macmillan CEO Richard Charkin to the position of Executive Director.

The move, in CEO Nigel Newton's words, is “to help the Board put in place plans for the post-Harry Potter era”. He joins the company on 1 October with “responsibilities for our operations worldwide, including Bloomsbury UK, A&C Black, Berlin Verlag and Bloomsbury USA, and he will have particular focus on spearheading growth through acquisitions, new publishing areas and international expansion”.

Speaking to PN shortly before leaving for Bloomsbury's 21st birthday party, Newton said: “Richard is a publisher that I have respected immensely for years. He is one of my unofficial cadre of peer group advisors. He's a maverick, an iconoclast, he has a great sense of humour, he's combative and he does not accept the status quo. He's the most Bloomsbury person I know who has never worked for the company in its 21 years - and I am happy to correct that now.”

He added: “To put it in Harry Potter terms, he is joining us as the Minister for Growth, to help us put in place the plans we have and also help us remain the fiercely independent publisher we have been for 21 years.” Newton said that he was also attracted by Charkin's evident interest in new technology and new developments, which clearly chimes with Bloomsbury's own track record - whether it be the Encarta deal all those years ago, or, more recently, its arrangement with Qatar Finance Centre Authority to develop a banking and finance information resource. As Newton put it: “He is probably the only chief executive in this industry with a blog. He's 58 but he's living this e-world more than people half his age. He's energetic and dynamic and willing to take risks.”

Charkin said that his 10 years at Macmillan had been “the best 10 years of my career. We've achieved a huge amount, but I have a restless spirit and it's time for a new opportunity. I am completely enthusiastic about the team at Bloomsbury and they are in a great position to grow.”

Announcing the news to Macmillan staff, he said: ”The decade has seen significant growth in all our diverse areas of publishing and we have been able to do this mainly organically but also with some excellent acquisitions. We are in the middle of a digital revolution and Macmillan has embraced the changes without losing sight of the importance of our authors, our staff, our customers and our history. ”This success is down to everyone at Macmillan everywhere in the world. I hope I have been able to contribute to it a bit.” Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of Holtzbrinck Group, the owners of Macmillan, paid tribute to Richard's contribution to the company, saying: “Richard and I joined Macmillan at more or less the same time and from the beginning it was an inspiring, creative and successful relationship. It is a great joy for me, my sister Monika and all of us at the Holtzbrinck Group to see Macmillan thriving in every way which is the result of strong leadership and a loyal and successful team.”

Mike Barnard, who retired from the main board of Macmillan in May after 35 years, will return as Deputy Chairman until a new CEO is appointed.
Footnote from The Bookman:
A great appointment for Bloomsbury and a great loss for MacMillan.
Bookman Beattie hopes he will continue to blog at Bloomsbury?

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