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Penguin Random House’s CEO resigns

Penguin Random House’s CEO resigns

Madeline McIntosh, former CEO of Penguin Random House: «I don’t think CEOs should stay in their jobs forever».

Madeline McIntosh, one of the most powerful figures in the U.S. publishing industry is stepping down as CEO of Penguin Random House U.S., the company announced on January 31. An announcement comes on the heels of Penguin Random House CEO and McIntosh’s boss, Markus Dohle, stepping down in December. In addition, the company also lost its purchase of Simon & Schuster, a large rival publisher, after the government sued on antitrust grounds.

According to Madeline McIntosh’s statement to employees, she does not believe that «CEOs should stay in their jobs forever. New perspectives can be incredibly healthy and helpful to organizations, so I believe this is not only the best decision for me, but also for PRH. While I know we will continue to thrive together with me here, I also think it’s good to embrace change.»

Another reason he justifies his departure has to do with his career aspirations «although I have spent much of my life in one company, my path in the book world has never been linear. From publishing to new media to sales to audio to Amazon (and Luxembourg!) to leading our digital transition to create Penguin Random House to publishing with the Penguins, and finally to this seat: it’s a difficult path to plan or predict. The points of my biggest pivots are precisely the ones that have taught me the most.»

About his next destination, McIntosh doesn’t give many clues: «You’ll be curious to know what my next act will be and, believe me, so will I! There are ideas I’ve had over the years that have never found a natural fit within PRH, but that I’m excited to explore now. After all these years within the safe and supportive home that is our company, I’m looking forward to taking another leap.»

Nihar Malaviya, former president and COO of Penguin Random House USA who succeeded Markus Dohle after his resignation, also sent a statement to employees after the news broke: «For the past nearly thirty years, Madeline has played an invaluable role in our company and in our daily work life. It would be impossible for me to capture everything she has achieved during her incredible career, but I would like to recount some of our experiences together to highlight just a few.»

In her letter, Malaviya highlights some of the most important milestones she experienced with the former director and encourages all employees to join in thanking her: «Her ability to see around the corner and stay ahead of the curve was evident even early in her career when she quickly realized the importance of online sales long before others. That foresight and talent led her to become Director of Adult Sales. That streak continued when she became Publisher of Random House Audio before audiobook sales took off, and continued when she left for her «extended sabbatical» at Amazon before returning to Random House and championing the expansion of e-books here. Recently, along with other colleagues and company leaders, he set the course for America’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, understanding that the publishing industry must be representative of society. As a company, we have benefited enormously from his inexhaustible curiosity coupled with his drive for action, and I have no doubt that he will bring these wonderful attributes to his next venture.»

Cover photo: © Paul Brissman

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