Richell to head Hachette Australia as Edwards retires

Hachette Australia c.e.o. and Hachette New Zealand chairman Malcolm Edwards will retire at the end of 2013. Matt Richell, currently sales and marketing director responsible for the Hodder, Headline, Octopus and digital divisions of Hachette Australia, will succeed him.

Richell has also been appointed deputy managing director of Hachette Australia with immediate effect. He will become c.e.o. of Hachette Australia on 1st February 2013, reporting to Hachette UK's commercial director, Richard Kitson, and joining the board of Hachette UK.

From 1st February and until his retirement at the end of 2013, Edwards will become part-time non-executive chairman of Hachette Australia, and will act as the executive chairman of Hachette New Zealand and Alliance Distribution Services. At the end of the year, Edwards will relinquish all directorships and Richell will take over as executive chairman of Hachette New Zealand and Alliance Distribution Services.

Edwards said: "It's not easy to decide when to retire but I wish to do so before I become infirm. I also realise that, after 37 years in the industry, it is time to stand aside, and allow Matt, along with the talented, dynamic and generally younger management teams, to take Hachette forward in both Australia and New Zealand. Matt is a natural leader. This, coupled with his deep understanding of the industry, his ability to think strategically and his instinct for publishing, means that he will be a terrific c.e.o."

Hachette UK c.e.o. Tim Hely Hutchinson said: "Malcolm’s retirement will be gradual but I cannot let this announcement pass without saying something about what a fantastic colleague, friend and ally he has been for everyone who comes into contact with him in publishing and especially for his longer-standing colleagues including me." 

Edwards - who is unconnected to the Orion deputy c.e.o. with the same name -  joined the group in 1994.