Caroline Ridding, publisher of the Avon imprint at HarperCollins, is to join Head of Zeus in August to set up a new fiction imprint.
The new HoZ imprint, to be called Aria, will publish original, full-length mass-market fiction from new and established authors, predominantly in e-book format.
HoZ c.e.o. Amanda Ridout has worked with Ridding before, starting Avon with her in 2007. The publisher said Ridding – who was previously book buyer for Tesco - had built Avon into "a multi-million pound business with generous double-digit profit margins".
Ridout said: "I am thrilled to welcome Caroline to the company and look forward to working with her to build a successful e-publishing imprint. When we started Avon together in 2007, I knew that Caroline's instinct for spotting and supporting commercial fiction talent was second to none. The success of Avon over the past seven years proved I was right. Her entrepreneurial zeal and commercial instincts fit perfectly with the Head of Zeus ethos and she will work closely with our digital team to build further on their brilliant record of launching and establishing bestselling authors in e."
Meanwhile HoZ chairman Anthony Cheetham predicted that Aria, which will publish its first titles in spring 2016, would "make a highly valuable contribution to our twin targets of 30% per annum growth over the next five years and to maintaining the 50/50 ratio between digital and print sales."
Ridding praised HoZ's "fantastic forward thinking team", saying: "The chance to work with such a cutting edge, commercial, passionate and digital savvy team will be a great privilege and one that I relish getting started on."
HoZ cites e-book sales figures of four million since publishing its first title in June 2012.