Former Orion Children’s m.d. Fiona Kennedy is joining Head of Zeus (HoZ) to manage its new children’s imprint, Zephyr.
Kennedy will join HoZ in February next year and will launch the first Zephyr list in autumn 2017.
HoZ c.e.o. Amanda Ridout said: “We shall extend a very warm welcome to Fiona when she joins us in February next year. Her belief in the value of good story-telling and in building authors into bestsellers, chimes very closely with the values of our adult fiction lists, and will make an important contribution to our ambitious growth plans.”
Kennedy was previously m.d. and publisher at Orion Children’s Books, now a division of Hachette Chidlren’s Group, where she published authors such as Francesca Simon, Lauren St John, Sally Gardner and Marcus Sedgwick. She also oversaw the launch of Orion Children’s YA imprint Indigo in 2011.
She left Orion Children’s in January this year, saying at the time she wanted to “pursue other interests”.
Her latest move move reunites her with Anthony Cheetham, the founder of Orion who is now chairman of HoZ.
“Fiona was the architect of the most successful division in the publishing group, earning annual returns of 20% or more on a mix of award-winning novels, series franchises, and illustrated co-editions,” said Cheetham. “My most enduring memory is of the day I nearly fell off my chair when she told me that we had received a seven figure US pre-empt for a newly commissioned series - and turned it down. I wouldn’t be telling this story if she hadn’t got the additional advance she asked for. Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Ancient Darkness went on to sell a million copies in the UK and secured rights sales in 40 countries.”