Obituary: Tony Moggach

Obituary: Tony Moggach

Anthony Austin Moggach (“Tony” to all who knew him), who died on 24th November after a short illness at the age of 69, was an outstanding figure in international sales and marketing throughout his long publishing career.

After graduating in Modern and Medieval Languages from Jesus College, Cambridge, he joined Oxford University Press in 1968 as European sales representative. It was quickly apparent that, with his keen intellect, linguistic skills and easy empathy with customers and colleagues, he had found his métier. Recognising his cosmopolitan talents, OUP appointed him, at the early age of 28, as manager of its Karachi branch.

On his return to London after a distinguished tour of duty, Tony was taken on by Penguin Books as European sales director with the brief to develop its international sales. Under his leadership Penguin was the first general publisher to develop an export sales strategy in Europe and the Near East, based on locally run offices as successful subsidiary companies opened by Tony in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, as were offices in Greece and Turkey. This trailblazing expansion made Penguin the largest-selling British trade publisher in Europe. He was also the architect of the influential and profitable Penguin English-Language Training readers programme, which would later adorn Longman’s language-teaching publishing.

After his departure from Penguin in the mid-1990s, Tony’s pioneering sense of international adventure and business opportunity really came into its own. In the “Wild West” environment of post-Soviet Russia, Tony set up Dinternal Moscow, which became the first foreign-owned and managed distributor and retailer (through its associated bookshop) of English-language books in the country. Not content with expanding into Ukraine, he also went on to set up a high-profile sales representation agency covering sub-Saharan Africa, an area much neglected by publishers. He combined this with tireless travel throughout Eastern Europe, where he created a bridgehead for his publishers into some of the most challenging export markets.

Most importantly, whether as adept businessman, congenial bon vivant or wise counsellor, Tony made countless friends throughout a life lived to the full on a truly international scale—friends who join his wife, Paulina, and children, Tom, Lottie and Cordelia, in mourning his sudden and untimely death and the painful gap it leaves in each of our lives.