Helen Conford, publishing director at Penguin Press, will join Profile Books to take over from Andrew Franklin as publisher in May.
Conford joins a newly expanded executive team formed of Franklin, m.d., finance director Frances Ford, Diana Broccardo, commercial director, Claire Beaumont, UK sales director and Hannah Westland, publisher of Serpent's Tail.
Conford was crowned ‘Editor of the Year’ in 2014 and co-founded PRH imprint Particular Books in 2009. She has also worked with authors such as Coralie Bickford-Smith, Alexa Chung, William Hill winner Tom Gregory, Naomi Klein, Grayson Perry, John le Carré in Penguin Classics.
The news follows a number of changes at the independent press including the promotion of Rebecca Gray, formerly associate publisher at Profile and Serpent’s Tail, to publisher of a newly energised Souvenir Press earlier this month with recruitment open for a commissioner across the Souvenir list. Miranda Jewess also joined Profile in February from Titan Books to run the Serpent’s Tail crime list.
Franklin told The Bookseller that Conford's appointment is part of continued expansion of the organisation.
When asked why he decided to step down from the role of publisher, Franklin said: "I have been publisher and m.d. since 1996 when there were just three of us, now there are 42 and we want to grow more and it is too big for those two roles to sit with one person—it’s not a prelude to retirement.
"We will expand more as these editors buy books and will probably grow by another 10% by the end of the year, taking on another four people."
Conford, who will take up her new role in May, said: “I love working at Penguin Press and am proud to be have been part of such an intelligent, committed and creative team. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had there.
“Only the chance to help shape the future of Profile Books could prise me away. It is exciting to join a clever, independent publishing house that I have always admired and to learn from Andrew and the Independent Alliance.”
Franklin added: “Helen is simply brilliant, amongst the best of the best. I have watched and admired her publishing from afar for a long time and am thrilled that she is bringing her flair, genius for creating books and commitment to authors to Profile. She will take the list to new and exciting places. With Helen and our new executive we are investing in the future of Profile Books and intend to publish with ever-greater strength.”