Weldon to lead Penguin Random House UK

Weldon to lead Penguin Random House UK

Penguin UK chief executive Tom Weldon has been appointed chief executive of Penguin Random House UK following the finalisation of the merger between the two publishing groups. Gail Rebuck, chair and chief executive of Random House UK, is to be chair of the new business. Ian Hudson is to be deputy chief executive, reprising the role he has at Random House UK.

Rebuck said Weldon and Hudson would "forge a new team and a great publishing house fit to flourish in the 21st century". Hudson will also oversee Penguin Random House’s operations in Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Asia in his capacity as chief executive officer, Penguin Random House International.

In his letter to Penguin Random House staff in the UK, India, Australia and New Zealand, global chief executive Markus Dohle praised Rebuck's "stewardship" and track record of delivering profitable growth and creative excellence at Random House". Weldon, he said, had "guided Penguin to its most succesful three years in its financial history, combining a host of bestsellers with an innovative development of the Penguin brand and a very successful broadening of its Intellectual Property strategy, particularly in the children's area". Weldon will report direct to Dohle. Hudson will report to Weldon in terms of his UK role, and direct to Dohle in terms of his international role. Rebuck's role as chair of the UK board is non-executive.

The announcements were made to the City this morning, and follow weeks of speculation with many in the trade expecting Weldon's appointment.

A statement from Dohle about the merger indicated that there would be a "gradual and careful integration process". He added: “Today, Penguin and Random House officially unite to create the first truly global trade book publishing company. As separate companies, we have long performed outstandingly by every benchmark; as colleagues, we will share and apply our passion for publishing the best books with our enormous experience, creativity, and entrepreneurial drive. Together, we will give our authors unprecedented resources to help them reach global audiences—and we will provide readers with unparalleled diversity and choice for future reading. Connecting authors and readers is, and will be, at the heart of all we strive to accomplish together.”

In the letter to staff, Rebuck added: "To see Penguin and Random House come together into this new company is an amazing day.  For  several  years I have been advocating a strategic merger and to see these two companies both at the top of their game join together is truly an historic moment and I am honoured to be their first UK Chair. It is terrific that I can now admire Tom as a colleague rather than a competitor. He has that rare combination in publishing of editorial talent and business acumen with strong marketing and innovation skills."

Coram Williams, previously chief financial officer for the Penguin Group, will serve in a dual capacity as chief financial officer for Penguin Random House, in the US and worldwide. Williams will also oversee the self-publishing business Author Solutions. David Shanks has stepped down as chief executive of the Penguin Group (USA). He will serve as senior executive advisor to Dohle and the US executive team.  Madeline McIntosh, formerly chief operating officer, Random House US, becomes president and chief operating officer of Penguin Random House in the US. Brad Martin, formerly President and chief executive of Random House of Canada, is appointed chief executive of Penguin Random House in Canada.

A temporary logo only has been unveiled for Penguin Random House (pictured below), with new permanent corporate branding to be revealed at a later date.

The merger was first announced in October last year, with Random House chief executive Markus Dohle becoming chief executive of the new group, with Penguin global chief executive John Makinson taking up the post of chairman. In 2012, Penguin Random House had pro forma revenues of £2.6bn (€3.2bn) and operating profit of £346m (€427m). The new company employs more than 10,000 people and publishes more than 15,000 new titles every year across 250 imprints.

John Fallon, chief Executive of Pearson, said: "This combination creates a clear world leader with a strong platform for continued creative and commercial success in a rapidly-changing consumer publishing industry. This will be an excellent business and we will be active long-term partners in it." Makinson said: "Penguin Random House starts life today as a freshly minted company, but also as a creative enterprise that will draw on the greatest legacies in the history of book publishing. That heritage will help to frame the culture and personality of Penguin Random House as we place our extraordinary shared resources at the service of our authors, our customers, our readers, and our colleagues. It is an exciting day for all of us."

The Penguin Random House board will comprise:
John Makinson - chairman, Penguin Random House
Markus Dohle - chief executive officer, Penguin Random House
Coram Williams - chief financial officer, Penguin Random House
John Fallon - chief executive, Pearson

Philip Hoffman  EVP corporate finance & strategy, Pearson
Dr. Thomas Rabe - chairman and chief executive officer, Bertelsmann
Dr. Judith Hartmann - chief financial officer, Bertelsmann
Dr. Thomas Hesse - president corporate development and new business, Bertelsmann
Gail Rebuck - member of the Bertelsmann Group Management Committee

Tom Weldon: The 2011 interview