Matt Wright, who has been running Hachette UK's distribution business as managing director, is being promoted to c.e.o. of Hachette UK Distribution. His appointment comes in the wake of the opening of The Hely Hutchinson Centre this summer, Hachette UK's new distribution centre in Didcot.
Wright is commended for having successfully led the distribution business through a period of considerable change, delivering huge improvements in the service offered to customers and client publishers. "Our distribution business has grown impressively under his leadership and he has been instrumental in the conception and on time delivery of our fantastic new warehouse," said a Hachette spokesperson.
Wright said: “I am incredibly proud to lead Hachette UK Distribution into the next phase of its evolution. The Hely Hutchinson Centre is the most sophisticated book distribution warehouse in Europe – possibly even in the world – and it will ensure that we can pursue our ambition to become the outright market leader of publisher and customer services."
Following Wright's promotion, Jo Westbrook, currently general manager of Littlehampton Book Services (LBS), ascends to the role of c.o.o. of Hachette UK Distribution.
Working alongside Wright, Hachette said Westbrook has been heavily involved in the design and planning of the new site. In her new role she will be responsible for warehouse operations as well as client and customer services at the new centre. She will continue to manage relationships with third-party client publishers and will also have responsibility for HR.
LBS will continue to be Westbrook's responsibility until its closure, which is expected to take place next year. In the summer of 2016 it was reported that 230 jobs at LBS were "at risk" and Hachette confirmed the same number of jobs were still at risk but no redundancies had yet been made.
James Linney, director of Accounting Services at Hachette UK, will become finance director of Hachette UK Distribution and a key member of the management team overseeing the transition to the new distribution centre.
Paul Gibbon, who has also been hugely involved in the design and build of the new site, continues as general manager of Bookpoint. However, in addition to his responsibilities for Bookpoint, he takes on management of the relationship with Hachette UK's automation partner TGW and will be responsible for "exploring opportunities for future expansion" as well as closer cooperation with supply chain partners.
C.o.o. Chris Emerson commented: "I could not be more thrilled to announce the appointment of this talented team that will lead our new distribution business. The Hely Hutchinson Centre signals our commitment to delivering unparalleled levels of service for our publishers and our third-party clients for decades to come."