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Olson could leave Random House
06.05.08 | Philip Jones
Peter Olson the long-time chief executive of Random House is to leave the business in a "matter of weeks", according to numerous reports. According to rumours UK chief executive Gail Rebuck could be moved over to the US to replace him.
The reports of Olson's departure first surfaced in the New York Times, which noted that Olson has come under mounting pressure in recent months as Bertelsmann’s financial results have been damaged by lower profits at Random House and steep losses in its American book clubs, which he also oversees.
But the FT reports an unnamed source indicating that Olson’s possible departure was not tied to Random House’s recent financial performance. "He has other interests in life besides being a career CEO," this person said.
The terms and exact timing of Olson’s departure were still under negotiation, according to the reports. Bertelsmann’s board is scheduled to meet in New York in two weeks.
According to Publishers Weekly, the details in the Times story are similar to a rumour that circulated throughout the London Book Fair in April. It reported that Bertelsmann executives, including new chief executive Hartmut Ostrowski, had become concerned about Random House’s financial performance under Olson as well as Olson’s actions since he became sick (he is now back at work). Rumours in London had Random House UK head Gail Rebuck as the favourite candidate to replace him, PW noted.