PRH legal director Peacock to retire after 23 years

PRH legal director Peacock to retire after 23 years

Helena Peacock, legal director for Penguin Random House UK and international, is retiring on 30th June after 23 years of service.

Peacock joined Penguin in 1993 and in 1997 became Penguin company secretary. She became legal director for Penguin and DK in 2000. In 2006 she expanded her role to become HR director as well, a responsibility she later relinquished when she became group legal director of the newly formed PRH UK in 2013.

She will be succeeded by Sinead Martin who has been appointed group legal director, UK and International, effective as of 1st July. She will report to Mark Gardiner, group finance director. 

Ian Hudson, deputy c.e.o. of PRH, said: “From Helena’s early days as a commercial solicitor at Penguin through to the present day as Penguin Random House UK & International legal director, Helena has been a great asset to our company.

“She is a consummate professional who always puts the business’s interests first. Her passion for her work has always extended to her team and she has been a much valued mentor and guide. Helena has a wonderful sense of humour and is a brilliant team player – not least when she is being a demon batter during the legal team’s summer rounders match. She has been described as calm, with a supportive and collegiate manner but able to do the ‘stern stuff’ when it matters.”

Peacock was Penguin’s "leading legal light" during the David Irving libel trial against Penguin and Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust. The outcome in favour of Penguin was described as a "victory for both Penguin and free speech". Hudson added: “We shall all miss her as a colleague, advisor, confidant and a friend.”

Martin, who takes over from Peacock on 1st July, joined Random House in 2006 as senior legal counsel responsible for pre and post publication legal issues. She was promoted to legal director in 2011, managing the Random House legal team with overall responsibility for publishing and commercial legal work. Following the merger of Penguin and Random House in 2013, she was appointed as deputy group legal director. Before joining Random House, Martin began her career at Dentons Law Firm working primarily in their media litigation department before moving to Sky where she was senior solicitor.

Hudson commented: “Sinead has led on numerous legal issues and challenges and was a pivotal member of the Random House team working to bring about our merger in 2013. She has worked on several significant negotiations which have helped our business be on the strong footing it is today.

“Her attention to detail is second to none and she is excellent at finding solutions while working with stakeholders including authors, retailers and regulatory bodies.  We wish Sinead well in her new role and Helena all the very best for the future.”

Peacock said: “I am so lucky to have worked at Penguin for most of my career and I have enjoyed every minute of my time here. To be surrounded by creative passionate people and thousands of wonderful books has been a complete luxury and to have been part of Penguin Random House since the merger has been a real privilege.

“I am absolutely delighted to be able to pass the baton to Sinead who I know will do brilliantly in the role.”

Martin said: “We shall all miss Helena’s wisdom and sense of humour. In the time we have worked together she has become a valued friend and mentor. Her legacy is a great team and I look forward to working with them as we continue to shape the future of Penguin Random House.”