Gabrielle Coyne (pictured) has stepped down as c.e.o for Penguin Random House Asia Pacific. She is being replaced with immediate effect by Julie Burland, former children’s director for Random House Australia and New Zealand, reporting to c.e.o Penguin Random House International Ian Hudson.
Hudson thanked Coyne for her “unique contribution” to the business and referred to her as an “outstanding advocate”. He said: “Gabrielle has long been a powerful voice for the value of books and publishing, initially in Australia and then beyond. Her passion for writing and ideas and for discovering and nurturing authors throughout their careers has shone through. She can be proud of her many achievements. Gabrielle takes with her our very best wishes for her future endeavours.”
Coyne’s career at Penguin has spanned 25 years, beginning as a marketing assistant for the company in 1990 and taking the leadership mantle from Peter Field in 2003 when she was appointed m.d. for Penguin Australia. She was made c.e.o of Penguin Group Asia Pacific in 2009, overseeing the Penguin operations in Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia; and she has also held various positions on boards in the Australian publishing community, including vice president of the Australian Publishers Association.
The Sydney Morning Herald has speculated that the reason for Coyne's departure was because of the cultural differences between Penguin and Random House, following the merger that took place a little over two years ago.
Coyne told the newspaper a few months ago: "We're still working on them together but I wouldn't describe them as material. There are different ways of doing things, thinking about things but generally speaking publishing cultures have a similarity about them. We are here for the same reasons – to find a great book, connect a great book with readers."
Coyne said of her departure: “I’ve had 25 extraordinary years at first with Penguin and latterly at Penguin Random House and it has been a real privilege to work with some of the world’s greatest authors and publishers. I’m confident that the talented teams will go from strength-to-strength.”
Burland was welcomed to the “pivotal role” by Hudson, who heralded her as “one of Australia publishing’s brightest stars”.
He said: “I am delighted to appoint Julie to this pivotal leadership role. She is one of Australian publishing’s brightest stars, and has the publishing, sales, and managerial skills, as well as the vision and collaborative style to lead our talented teams. A true entrepreneur, she is passionate about her business, her authors and their books and her ambition to connect authors to their largest possible audiences has helped achieve record sales for, among many, Dan Brown, Christopher Paolini and brands such as MasterChef.
“Julie will bring a fresh and a forward-looking management focus to these dynamic markets, and I am confident that she will deliver the success both we and our authors expect.”
Burland’s career has spanned multiple disciplines across both adult and children’s publishing. Her career at Penguin begun as a sales rep in 1993; leaving to join Carter Holt Harvey in 1995 before joining Random House Australia in 2000 as national account manager. She later launched the business development department in 2007, and set up e-book sales, established export customers and developed a successful custom publishing programme. Five years ago Burland was appointed director for PRA’s children’s division in 2010, in charge of publishing, sales, marketing and publicity, which she's credited for transforming into a profitable business.
She said: “I am honoured to be given the chance to work with our colleagues and our authors to build on our unrivalled heritage of local and international publishing. I want to play my part in ensuring that Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand fulfil their amazing potential in connecting authors and readers in ever more imaginative and meaningful ways.”
PRH also announced that Margie Seale, former managing director Random House Australia and New Zealand, as non-executive chairman Penguin Random House Australia and New Zealand, bringing to the table her "unrivalled knowledge of both the Australian and New Zealand publishing markets, her local knowlege and long-standing relationships". Seale returns having left Random House in 2012 for a new portfolio career with positions including non-executive director for the Telstra Corporation Ltd.