PRH UK rethinks its sales teams

PRH UK rethinks its sales teams

Penguin Random House UK has announced a series of appointments in a restructure across its sales teams, with new roles for Martin Higgins, Helen Randles and Sarah Roscoe among them. Also among the changes is a new sales director for Benelux, Germany, France and Austria, following the decision of Penguin Germany m.d. Edith Strommen to retire next May after 30 years.

In a notice to staff, group sales director Mike Symons announced new roles within the UK, group companies and international sales teams, saying: “2014 has been a year of change for many of us and especially for the sales team who have worked tirelessly to deliver bestsellers across our diverse publishing lists both in the UK and internationally. We have taken time to consider and restructure the sales leadership team, the digital sales team, field sales team, and, most recently, created combined group companies and international sales teams that can share knowledge and develop new strategies for an ever-changing marketplace.”

Strommen’s decision to retire in 2015 has led to the appointment of Feico Deutekom, currently m.d. of Penguin Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg (Benelux) and France, as Penguin Random House sales director Benelux, Germany, France and Austria. Deutekom will lead a team of sales managers out of Amsterdam, which is set to be the sales hub for key markets in Europe.

Dean Chance, international sales director (export), said: “It is with great sadness that after 30 amazing years at Penguin Germany, Edith Strommen has taken the decision to retire.  I have had the pleasure of working closely with Edith for the last five years and have seen the incredible difference she has made not just to the Penguin business, but also the entire English language book market in Germany. Edith’s countless professional achievements are only paralleled by the love and respect Edith has amassed from her colleagues worldwide; it will be hard to imagine our business without her.”

Strommen said: “I have had a once in a lifetime opportunity to help establish and grow Penguin Books’ business in Germany and Austria and can truly say I have lived my dream job.  I have decided to take the leap to retire and give my life a different direction having more time for family, friends and the many interests I have." Strommen said she would "truly miss" her "wonderful colleagues all over the world, the Penguin spirit, and all the great books we publish."

PRH UK announced last month that it was closing its offices in Benelux, France and Germany. Chance said this had given the company “the opportunity to review how we manage our sales and retain a significant presence in our key European markets”.

“Feico brings vast experience and enthusiasm to this pivotal new role working closely on some of our most important export markets,” he added.

In the UK sales team a series of new appointments have been made from within the existing team. Martin Higgins, currently sales and development director for Ebury, has been appointed Penguin adult sales director with direct responsibility for Michael Joseph but overall responsibility for Penguin Press, Penguin General and Michael Joseph. Helen Randles, currently RHCP sales director, has been appointed Ebury sales director. Meanwhile Transworld sales director Sarah Roscoe will take on a new role leading the combined PRH children’s division as sales director.

UK sales director Garry Prior said: “Over the coming months we will be working on bringing the two children’s sales teams together.”

The company will be recruiting for the position of Transworld sales director.

Higgins and Roscoe will now report into Naomi Fidler while Randles continues to report into Ed Christie.

As part of the changes to the group companies’ sales leadership team, Cara Conquest, currently Random House UK digital sales manager, will become head of sales for South Africa and India. Conquest worked at The Bookseller until 2008 before joining PRH, where she has worked with a number of publishing divisions.

Anna Derkacz, currently head of adult sales (Penguin), becomes head of sales for the US and Canada. Before joining Random House in 2008 and then Penguin in 2010, Derkacz was a buyer for both ASDA/Wal-Mart and Borders.

Mat Watterson, currently RHCP sales manager, is appointed head of sales Australia and New Zealand.  

Justin Ward-Turner, currently international sales operations manager, has been appointed as head of international sales operations. He will head a team of eight managing international sales operations across PRH’s UK divisions.

PRH in the US today also announced appointments to its international sales leadership team.