London Book Fair director Jacks Thomas is stepping down after seven years with Reed Exhibitions.
Thomas said she had intended to make the announcement during this year's fair after submitting her resignation last September. However, last week's event had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus. The decision was widely welcomed in the circumstances, though Reed drew some criticism for not cancelling it earlier.
Thomas joined LBF in 2013 and has increased the international reach of the event, Reed said. She introduced a number of targeted feature roles alongside Author of the Day and also founded the Building Inclusivity in Publishing conference.
She said: “It is of course bittersweet to be making this announcement public after 2020 LBF was cancelled, instead of - as I had anticipated -during the course of another successful fair. Whenever I look back at the last seven years I am astonished by how much the Book Fair has evolved.
“I have had the benefit of working with the most fantastic team at Reed Exhibitions, and together we have introduced a wider, more diverse and more inclusive offering at The London Book Fair, to reflect the direction of travel of the publishing industry. I want to thank our advisory boards and committees for their input and support, and I look forward to supporting LBF’s next chapter from the sidelines as a new, and perhaps less frenetic, life beckons.”
Darren Johnson, c.e.o. of Reed Exhibitions UK, added: “I am sad to see Jacks leave Reed Exhibitions and LBF. She has certainly had a powerful impact on the show and leaves Reed Exhibitions in a great position to continue to support the industry in new and innovative ways. The London Book Fair is an iconic brand with a rich 50-year history that Reed Exhibitions is honoured to curate and we will continue to invest and build on the great work Jacks has overseen in the last 7 years. We wish Jacks every success in her future endeavours, and I know that she’ll be cheering on all her colleagues and partners at Reed Exhibitions and The London Book Fair.”
Prior to arriving at LBF, Thomashad worked in the arts and corporate sectors for more than 20 years. She began her career at the BBC before moving into publishing, holding marketing, publicity and communications roles at Victor Gollancz, Michael Joseph, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins. She laterjoined Reader’s Digest, where she was seconded to the USA in 2001 to oversee relaunching the brand, and rose to become director of communications, Europe. She then became a partner at Midas Public Relations for eight years.
David Roche, non-executive chair of LBF, said: “Since her arrival in 2013, Jacks has transformed The London Book Fair. She oversaw the move from Earls Court to Olympia, and has added layer upon layer of content. Keeping relentless focus on the business-to-business elements that lie at the heart of the Fair, she has attracted many new exhibitors and new countries. She has expanded elements such as the Literary Translation Centre and the Author HQ and her creation of London Book and Screen Week has provided a showcase for the UK’s creative talent. She has also been a tireless advocate of diversity and recognising new talent within the industry. Since submitting her resignation last September, Jacks has been working on a smooth transition with her talented team. Under her assured and innovative stewardship, LBF has become one of the biggest, most popular and productive business events in our publishing calendar.”
Jacks will step down in the summer and Reed Exhibitions will announce future plans for LBF in the coming weeks.