Maya Mavjee (pictured) has been named president and publisher for Knopf following Sonny Mehta's death, with Reagan Arthur appointed to executive v.p. and publisher of Knopf, Pantheon and Schocken.
Penguin Random House US c.e.o. Madeline McIntosh wrote two letters about the senior appointments, referencing how the late Sonny Mehta, chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, had influenced the appointments. Mehta died on 30th December age 77 from complications from pneumonia.
McIntosh’s document concerning Mavjee’s appointment, circulated on Thursday (23rd January), reads: “To lead its future growth, vision, and publishing success I am very happy to announce that I have chosen Maya Mavjee to become president and publisher for the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Maya will report directly to me, and will represent the group on our Penguin Random House US Board. She will start on March 2nd.
“Maya does not, of course, need an introduction here at the company or in the industry, since she is a 22- year veteran of Penguin Random House and its predecessor companies, having led both Crown here in the US and Doubleday in Canada to success. She is returning to us from Macmillan, where she has served as president, publishing strategy since January of last year.
“Reporting to Maya will be Reagan Arthur, the newly-announced executive v.p and publisher of Alfred A Knopf, Pantheon & Schocken; Bill Thomas, executive v.p., publisher and editor-in-chief, Doubleday; Suzanne Herz, executive v.p., publisher, Vintage Anchor and director of publishing, Doubleday; and Nan Talese, publisher of the Nan A. Talese imprint. Each will have full creative autonomy for his or her programs.”
Mavjee will also oversee business operations, production, foreign rights, domestic rights and communications.
“Effective with this new group structure, Tony Chirico, who has been president, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, will move to report to me in a corporate capacity on an interim basis,” McIntosh wrote.
McIntosh wrote a second letter to staff about Arthur which revealed she had been chosen by Mehta. “In the last few weeks, each of us has read, or heard, or said: ‘Sonny cannot be replaced.’ He was an extraordinary editor, publisher, tastemaker, and mentor. Everything about him was unique, every conversation with him interesting. He led us where his curiosity took him, and redefined our industry along the way.
“Over the past six months, in our semi-regular ‘meetings’ (a.k.a., drinks-across-the- street), Sonny and I began to talk in earnest about the future. As you know, he made some changes and key appointments in the group late last year, but there was still the question of publishing leadership for Knopf itself.
“I’m incredibly happy to report that as his last gift to us, Sonny identified Reagan Arthur as his first choice for this role, and they were able to meet and talk about the opportunity in the fall.
“Reagan is being named Executive Vice President, Publisher, Knopf, Pantheon and Schocken, effective February 11th. She comes to us from Little, Brown, where she has spent the last seven years as Senior Vice President and Publisher. Prior to that, she led her own eponymous imprint there.”
Arthur began her career at St Martin’s, working with authors such as Megan Abbott, Kate Atkinson, , Eleanor Catton, Michael Connelly, Rachel Cusk, Ronan Farrow and James Patterson.
McIntosh praised Arthur’s “proven track record and a reputation that means her recommendations are trusted by sales reps and booksellers alike”.
Reporting to Arthuer will be Paul Bogaards, executive v.p. and deputy publisher, and the Knopf, Pantheon and Schocken editorial teams.
She added: “Additionally, I’m thrilled to report that Jordan Pavlin is being promoted to a key role: Senior v.p. and editorial director, Alfred A. Knopf. Jordan is one of the most gifted editors in trade publishing.”
McIntosh wrote how the support shown by colleagues had helped the company following Mehta’s death. “Thank you for the care you have shown for each other and for our authors over these past weeks during such difficult circumstances. Here’s to moving forward into 2020 and the coming decades with the same commitment to our community, and with the same spirit of invention, creativity, and literary adventure that have always been the Knopf hallmarks.”