Macmillan Publishing in the US is setting up a new 13-member committee to run the company, with c.e.o. John Sargent (pictured) stepping back from day-to-day management “to make room for new voices”. A company spokesman confirmed that Sargent remains in charge of the overall business, including its international businesses such as Pan Macmillan in the UK.
In a letter announcing the new trade management committee, Sargent said he would not be on it as it aimed to introduce more diverse perspectives on the business. The group will meet regularly to decide on the key issues facing the firm and “focus on running the overall company”. It will also track the progress of key initiatives, including diversity and inclusion across the company and in its publishing.
The publishing houses will stay as separate firms, with publishers reporting to president Don Weisberg.
Referring to Weisberg and c.o.o. Andrew Weber, he said: “Last fall Don, Andrew, and I started discussing how we might run Macmillan Publishers differently. In the last four weeks those discussions have taken on a greater urgency and scale. It is clear that we have to change who occupies the seats at the table when the important decisions are being made. It can no longer be Don, Andrew and me.”
He went on: “The committee will form a different and more inclusive management team, representing a wider range of experiences. This will be an exercise in changing power dynamics, and in making sure we have diverse perspectives in the decision-making process. We will make better decisions if our company structure is more representative of the world around us, and we can only do that if we align recruitment, training and retention with our day-to-day business decisions.
“This level of change is difficult, but I believe it is necessary. For some in the company this will be challenging, while others will see tremendous new opportunities. For the company as a whole I am confident that this will make us better and more capable in the years ahead.”
In a further letter to staff, Weisberg and Weber said the changes would help Macmillan achieve more diversity in its titles, staff and inclusivity in the decision-making process. It would create an organisation “more representative of the company we need to be for our employees, our authors, and our readers”.
Weisberg and Weber will be on the committee, which meets for the first time this week, alongside 11 other standing members plus a new head of diversity and inclusion. Its other members are: s.v.p of fulfilment Guy Browning; senior v.p. of publishing strategy and initiatives Malati Chavali; senior v.p. of communication and events Erin Coffey; director of talent and development Sonali Goel, president of sales Jenn Gonzalez; global HR director Helaine Ohl; s.v.p. of publishing operations and technology Leslie Padgett; executive v.p. of finance, strategy, and analytics Dan Schwartz; senior talent acquisition manager Natasha Taylor and president and publisher of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group Jon Yaged.
Weisberg and Weber said: “Creating true systemic change that is successful and sustainable is difficult and will require company-wide effort. We have a lot to do, and we need to be more focused and determined to make this happen quickly. Working together, there is no doubt we can become the company we aspire to be.”