Random House’s Awesome Superfun Summer of Change
I can imagine the mood at Random House this morning is akin to an entire coop of non-kosher chickens running around with their heads cut off now that CEO Peter Olson’s departure has been confirmed after ten years at the company’s helm and his replacement, effective next month, will be Markus Dohle, the soon-to-be-former head of Bertelsmann’s printing arm Arvato (where he’d replaced current Bertelsmann chairman Helmut Ostrowski). Dohle has a reputation for being “enterpreneurial” and Arvato was one of the profit crown jewels in Bertelsmann’s arm.
So is an “aggressive diversification drive” code for a corporate bloodbath? Will the “world’s largest publisher of consumer titles”, as Motoko Rich put it in her NYT article this morning, be no longer in a matter of months? (Though it would be a serious stretch to consider whether Conde Nast wants to get back into the book publishing game again…) Did Marty Asher change jobs at exactly the right time? Will Olson’s new senior faculty job be at his alma mater Harvard or some other university in and around Harvard Square, where he and his family are moving? And all just in time for BEA!
If Vulture‘s right and Random House is entering Jack Donaghy’s world (which makes Gina Centrello Liz Lemon?), I suspect those editorial assistants will be learning how to program Kindles during the time formerly allocated to summer hours…