Rebecca Smart [pictured right], currently c.e.o. of the Osprey Group, is to take over as m.d. of Ebury Publishing, with Fiona MacIntyre [left] retiring from the role after nearly 30 years with the business.
Penguin Random House UK c.e.o. Tom Weldon said MacIntyre had approached him last year with her retirement decision. "I am deeply grateful that she agreed to stay on for 12 months, so she could support me and her team through our Penguin Random House merger," he said.
Paying tribute to MacIntyre as "an outstanding businesswoman, manager and leader", Weldon said: "Fiona has build a hugely successful business which has an unparalleled breadth of non-fiction publishing. Among her many highlights, she is the most outstanding cookery publisher of her generation, having spotted the potential for River Cafe, Moro and Ottolenghi as well as working with household names such as Delia Smith, Rick Stein, Simon Hopkinson and Madhur Jaffrey; she has made the Vermilion list one of Penguin Random House's most profitable imprints with titles such as Who Moved My Cheese?, Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby Book and the Atkins Diet backlisting for years and selling, quite literally, millions of copies; has overseen the Ebury list which has enjoyed consistent Top Ten bestsellers; and managed the acquisition and integration of BBC Books."
Weldon added that he had "loved" working with MacIntyre, "not least for her wonderful sense of humour, straightforwardness and generosity", saying: "She has built a great team and made Ebury a very happy place to work. We shall all miss her very much."
Announcing Smart as the new m.d. of Ebury, Weldon said: "Under Rebecca's leadership, Osprey has doubled in size through both acquisition and organic growth. She has established it as a multi-specialist, consumer-focused publishing business with strong international sales and has led innovation particularly in the digital area and new business models.
"Rebecca is one of the publishing industry's leading thinkers. She is both highly entrepreneurial and strategic, and these skills will be of enormous value not only to Ebury but to the whole of Penguin Random House."
MacIntyre said she had had "a wonderfully rewarding career at Penguin Random House", including "building a successful business, working with an amazing roll call of authors and, most importantly, developing and nurturing the careers of so many terrific people within Ebury". She added: "It was never going to be easy to leave but having worked closely with Tom since last year, I am extremely excited about Ebury's future and confident that under Tom, Rebecca and Jake [Lingwood, Ebury deputy m.d. and publisher] the business is in the safest of hands."
Smart said: "I shall always be grateful for the fantastic opportunities I was given at Osprey and the many wonderful people I worked with, but the chance to join the Ebury team to work alongside such talented people and their amazing authors, books and imprint brands, is just too great to resist.
"It's also incredibly exciting to become part of the management team of the biggest publisher in the world at a time of such dynamic change in both the company and the industry."
Smart's starting date at Ebury is yet to be confirmed. Osprey said it would put in place "an energetic search…to recruit a worthy successor". Chairman Robin Black said: "We will be sorry to see Rebecca leave, but we wish her every success in her future leadership of Ebury. She has done a most wonderful job at Osprey over the last 15 years, rising to c.e.o. in 2008, leading the company to be a hugely admired innovator in all of the specialist consumer communities for which it publishes."
Smart's recruitment is the second major editorial appointment made at Penguin Random House UK this year, coming after Francesca Dow's confirmation in January as head of a merged PRH UK children's division, with Philippa Dickinson moving to a consultant role and set to retire in 2015.
Smart is currently chair of the Independent Publishers Guild.