Hachette Children’s Group's Charmian Allwright is retiring as group production and operations director after a 42-year career, leading to promotions for Teresa Wood and Rasha Elsaeed.
Allwright graduated from the Oxford Polytechnic publishing course in 1979, first joining Marion Boyars Publishing as a general assistant, working in the Soho office above Lina’s Stores. A year later, she moved to Allison & Busby where she worked with both Clive Allison and Margaret Busby on their diverse and radical publishing list.
Further roles included a seven-year spell at Walker Books and two at years at Simon & Schuster Young Books before she joined Hodder Children’s Books as a freelance. Once there, she progressed to production manager and production director before taking her current role.
She said: “I have been unbelievably lucky to work in such an exciting industry and to have spent my career producing the most incredible children’s books. During this time, I have been part of huge changes in technology both in our office environments and the print industry. I have been able to visit suppliers all over the world, I have trained and managed production people who have gone on to become experts in their field, and many of the books I have worked on have become classics.
"My time at Hachette, particularly under Hilary and David’s leadership, has been full of interesting challenges, new acquisitions, system implementations and publishing triumphs – that’s why I have stayed at Hachette for so many years. I would like to thank them both very much.”
Her retirement sees head of trade production Wood promoted to production director, reporting to HCG c.e.o. Hilary Murray Hill. Elsaeed, currently publishing operations manager for HCG, has taken the role of head of publishing operations. Elsaeed will report to publishing operations director Ben Groves-Raines.
Murray Hill said: “Charmian has been an outstanding colleague. Her experience, professionalism, deep knowledge of and passion for the best in children’s book production and publishing have been an inspiration to me, and to her team. In recent years, Charmian has also led publishing operations for the children’s group at a time of systems change, which has presented the usual practical and managerial challenges as well as opportunities to improve efficiency and process. Her mastery of detail, workflow and people management has been central to so many successes and she has dealt with everything with complete equanimity and focus. Charmian will be hugely missed by everyone at Hachette Children’s Group and we all wish her every happiness on her retirement.
“Teresa and Rasha are both very impressive women and I know they are going to make an amazing contribution to our continued success in their new roles. I am delighted that Teresa will now join the senior management team at HCG and I’m looking forward to working with her in this new capacity.”
Allwright added: I wanted to finish my career on a high point and, after HCG’s extraordinary successes last year, it feels like the right time to retire. I am very proud of our production team and, under Teresa Wood’s leadership, I have no doubt it will go from strength to strength. Teresa is greatly respected both in the division and by suppliers internationally. The world of operations is not often under the spotlight; I am proud to have worked with Rasha Elsaeed and wish her every success in her role as head of publishing operations, which I know she will fulfil with her trademark excellence and rigour.
“I shall miss many aspects of my work, but I am ready to tackle new things and, as an avid book-buyer and reader, I will always be watching and supporting HCG.”
Wood said: “HCG is going from strength to strength and I’m both honoured and excited to be taking on the role of production director. Charmian has had an impressive career and I feel extremely fortunate to have been part of her team for nine years. She has taught me so much and has been a kind, calm and supportive manager. She will be hugely missed by all, but I wish her all the very best for the exciting next chapter ahead.”
Allwright's last day at HCG will be 31st August. Wood will start her new role on 1st September and Elsaeed new role commenced on 5th July. The production and operations teams will report to them respectively.