Hachette to create single children's division

Hachette to create single children's division

Hachette UK is to merge its three children's businesses into one division on 1st January 2015, with Egmont's Hilary Murray Hill (pictured) becoming its c.e.o.

The move will combine Hachette Children’s Books, Orion Children’s Publishing and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and create a “rich and specialised children’s publishing division,” Tim Hely Hutchinson, c.e.o of Hachette, said.

Current Egmont m.d Murray Hill will lead the new Hachette Children's Group, joining the company on 13th January 2015. Marlene Johnson, c.e.o of Hachette Children’s Books, will retire at the end of 2014 after 40 years in publishing.

Hachette said the move aimed to develop “new strengths in children’s publishing” and there would be no redundancies as a result of the division’s creation.

Hutchinson said: “I am delighted to announce this important strategic development for Hachette. We are bringing our abundant talent into one children’s publishing division that will be focused on ambitious and creative publishing programmes in every children’s publishing area and for every age group. Our six current imprints will continue, retaining their identities and their individual strengths under the leadership of their current managing directors and publishers. But now, led by Marlene in the short term and by Hilary from the new year, they will be part of a larger talent pool giving each individual imprint greater sales and marketing reach and, collectively, under one management, becoming part of a rich and specialised children’s publishing division.”

Clare Somerville will take on the role of deputy managing director of the Hachette Children’s Group, which will consist of four distinct fiction imprints: Orion Children’s Books led by managing director and publisher Fiona Kennedy, L,BYR led by publishing director Karen Ball, Hodder Children’s Books led by publishing director Anne McNeil, Orchard Books led by publishing director Megan Larkin and two educational imprints: Franklin Watts led by publishing director Rachel Cooke and Wayland, led by editorial director Debbie Foy.

Atom will continue to be an imprint of Little, Brown and  James Garbutt, currently publisher of Corsair, will widen his role to become publisher of Corsair and Atom.

The company said that “where it makes sense,” staff at Orion Children’s Books and L,BYR will move to join their colleagues in 338 Euston Road by 1st January, before everyone moves together to Carmelite House on in Spring 2015.

Meanwhile, sales for the new division will be handled by the Hachette Children’s Books sales team led by sales director Jason McKenzie, reporting to Lucy Hale.  Orion Children’s Books and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, which are currently distributed by LBS, will move to Bookpoint so that, from 1st January 2015, all books published by Hachette Children’s Group will be distributed by Bookpoint.

Hutchinson added: “This reorganisation is a mark of our ambition in children’s publishing: it capitalises on our strengths and it will create new opportunities for our talented staff as the division grows and diversifies.  We are excited at this opportunity for growth and our plan will no doubt be strengthened by the exchange of many great ideas as everyone gets involved in embracing each other’s best practices, and developing our strategy for the future.”

Hachette’s creation of a single children’s publishing division follows Penguin Random House’s decision to do the same in January this year, which the publisher said would allow it to “compete even more effectively.”

Hutchinson said he was “extremely grateful” to Johnson (left) for “steering and leading” the creation of the new division before her retirement. “I have been working with Marlene since I joined Hachette ten years ago and am full of admiration for her drive and ambition for her books and authors which led to the creation of a very successful and profitable children’s publishing division,” Hutchinson said.

Johnson said that “the world is changing, the way stories are discovered is changing and we are changing too.” She said: “I am immensely proud of my team and what we have achieved over the last 10 years, the breadth of our publishing and our myriad successes. And despite being part of a very large group we have retained the heart and warmth that makes every author published by us, every book and every member of staff feel special.”

Hilary Murray Hill was only appointed m.d of Egmont in January this year. On leaving the company, she said it had been “a thoroughly interesting and happy experience working with Cally and her excellent team” and added “but the opportunity to take the role of chief executive of the Hachette Children's Group was unmissable.”

Cally Poplak will now take on the role of m.d of Egmont Publishing’s UK book division in addition to her current role as m.d of Egmont Publishing UK.  

In December last year, Hachette announced it would move its seven publishing divisions to a new headquarters on Victoria Embankment called Carmelite Riverside.

In June this year, it revealed it would merge the sales teams of Little, Brown and Orion, and Hodder & Stoughton, Headline, Hachette Children’s Books and Quercus to create a new sales structure.