After more than 20 years with Ebury, Jake Lingwood, the division's deputy managing director and publisher, is stepping down and leaving the company. Lingwood said that with a new m.d. about to join (outgoing m.d. Rebecca Smart will join DK in January) it seemed "the perfect time to leave and try something new".
Smart's replacement as Ebury m.d. has yet to be named.
Lingwood joined Ebury in 1997. He was later appointed publisher in 2006 and deputy managing director in 2012, in which roles he also oversaw the Ebury Press, Rider, Vermilion, BBC and Virgin imprints, overseeing the publication of authors such as Robbie Williams, Andy Weir, Steve Peters, Marie Kondo and Yotam Ottolenghi.
His initial focus on joining Ebury was acquiring popular culture for the division, which was then largely known for its lifestyle and co-edition publishing, but according to PRH it was his unusual breakout hit in 1998 with comedian Tony Hawks’ Round Ireland with a Fridge that "pointed the way to a new direction for Ebury in narrative non-fiction".
Over the years he subsequently commissioned and published dozens of bestsellers from Hawks, as well as books from Caitlin Moran, Terry Pratchett, Simon Garfield, Dave Gorman, George Best, Abby Lee, Cat Marnell, Piers Morgan, NM Gwynne, Emma Kennedy and Danny Wallace. His Forgotten Voices series with the Imperial War Museum sold over a million copies.
Tom Weldon, c.e.o. of Penguin Random House UK, said: “I would like to thank Jake for all the fantastic work he has done at Ebury and Penguin Random House UK over the last 21 years. He is a true publishing entrepreneur with an uncanny eye for a bestseller. His intelligence, drive, and visceral commercial instincts are an unusual and powerful combination. We wish him much success for the future.”
Lingwood said: “I have absolutely loved my time at Ebury. It has changed so much since I started and the publishing house we’ve built together over years really is a beautiful thing. I woke up one morning recently and realised I was spending almost 100% of my time overseeing the publishing of 250 books a year, and managing an editorial team over 30 people which at the end of the day doesn’t give you very much time for commissioning books! The very reason I got into this in the first place had dropped away, almost without me noticing. With a new m.d. about to join Ebury, now seems the perfect time to leave and try something new. Publishing is all about spying opportunities. And timing.”
He can be contacted at JakeSLingwood@gmail.com.