Connect Books restructures after a 'challenging' six months

Connect Books restructures after a 'challenging' six months

Connect Books has restructured its departments in order to increase profitability.

The wholesaler has made a number of notable changes to the way it operates in a bid to arrest falling sales. The latest move involves organising the business by channel into four units: Wordery, Bertram Books, Dawson Books and International Businesses at Connect Books.

A spokesperson said: “Each of the four business units has its own distinct customer groups. Structuring Connect Books into these channels gives them each a focused management team that can champion and bring expertise to their respective sectors. The change is all about being better able to respond to customers.”

Outgoing Connect Books m.d. Graeme Underhill (pictured) wrote to staff last week informing them that David Hayworth, former sales director at Bertrams Books, would become the head of Bertram Books and Jane Johnson, formerly head of library sales at Dawson, would become head of Dawson Books with immediate effect. Both will report to Underhill.

In a third change, Dirk Raes, former m.d. of Erasmus, will become the head of International Businesses at Connect Books, also reporting to Underhill. Online retailer Wordery will continue to be headed by Will Jones.

In his note to staff, Underhill said: “It has become increasingly clear over the past few months that we need to focus more on the profitability of our different channels and that we need to organise ourselves accordingly.”

It has also been realed that as part of the restructure, Toby Bourne will be leaving the business as of today (18th July). Underhill said: "I'd like to thank Toby for his contribution to the Bertrams business since he joined three years ago."


Ian Sheppard will also be joining Connect Books as Supply Chain Director on Monday (18th August), reporting to Underhill. Sheppard will also be part of the executive team.

In an interim statement last week, Connect Group, Connect Books’ parent company, said that while revenues increased by 2.6% in the last quarter, due to the continued strong performance of Wordery, like-for-like sales were down 3.2%, reflecting increased pressure across other channels.

A recent financial statement said: “Recovery actions expected to reduce costs and increase margins are being delivered, although as a result of continued sales pressure—particularly in library services and academic markets—we expect full-year performance will be below previous expectations”.

Following a fall in profit and a “challenging” six months, it emerged that Underhill will retire at the end of 2014. Bertrams commercial director Jason Cherrington resigned from the company, and business turnaround specialist Nick Winks was appointed.

In his letter, Underhill said: “Nick Winks and I are confident that this new structure will be a key enabler in driving our profitability. Please join me in wishing David, Jane and Dirk every success in their new roles.”

Connect Books has also appointed a new IT director, Mark Duckett, formerly of Cambridge Assessment.