Frankfurt Book Fair cuts jobs in 'painful' restructure

Frankfurt Book Fair cuts jobs in 'painful' restructure

Frankfurt Book Fair has completed its restructure and cut an undiscosed number of roles in what it has called a “painful and far-reaching” process.

The fair announced in November it was making cuts after the physical event was eventually cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On 16th December, organisers said its corporate structures had been streamlined and a “reduction in headcount concluded”, but it would not give further details.

Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse, said: “Like many other businesses, Frankfurter Buchmesse has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic on an existential level. As a result, we had to implement a restructuring process that involves painful and far-reaching changes.

“I would like to thank all the employees who have helped set the course taken by Frankfurter Buchmesse in the past years through their commitment, leadership, creativity and passion. I will miss them—as colleagues and friends.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Frankfurt Book Fair New York office was closing, with Thomas Minkus, vice-president for the English language market, leaving the organisation after 20 years. Holger Volland, who was vice-president of business development, is also departing after a 10-year stint.

The fair has also announced it has held talks with 200 regular exhibitors in recent weeks to discuss their concerns and what the fair can do to support them in the future.

Organisers said all respondents had agreed a physical fair should take place in 2021 to the extent permitted by the pandemic. They also asked for the fair to focus on the basics of being a venue for the international rights and licensing business, and facilitating networking within the industry.

International exhibitors wanted B2B venues and an improved matchmaking tool, while German firms said interaction between their authors and the public, plus media coverage, were of major importance. All exhibitors surveyed said they would like flexible presentation formats.

Digital tools offered by Frankfurter Buchmesse will be further developed next year to augment the physical fair, with further details to be announced soon.

Boos said: “The customer feedback we have received in recent weeks is very valuable to us. It shows that Frankfurter Buchmesse must serve different and in some cases contradictory interests. Yet responding to this diversity is what Frankfurter Buchmesse is known for. We will be presenting our concept for Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021 in a few weeks.”