Random House has a new CEO today. Markus Dohle, 39, officially started this morning after a weekend spent at the Book Expo in Los Angeles. Mr. Dohle has already spent some time here in New York since being appointed to his new position by the head of Random House corporate parent Bertelsmann, spending a week in introductory meetings with Random’s division heads and other executives during the week of May 18th. The meetings, during which Mr. Dohle is said to have used mostly to ask questions, added up to an informal crash-course in the book trade, which is new territory for the industrial engineering and economics major.
Mr. Dohle returned home to Gütersloh, Germany on May 24th to wrap up some business at Bertelsmann printing division Arvato, which he ran until last month, and arrived in LA on Friday evening in time for a cocktail party in West Hollywood hosted by Random’s adult trade group.
Most seemed impressed with the wide smile and boyish manner with which Mr. Dohle carried himself on the convention floor on Saturday, though Random House people were reluctant to make predictions about what he might do now that he has taken over for Random’s previous CEO, Peter Olson. Speculative rumblings did ring out, however, about the possibility of centralizing certain back-end functions and putting an end to the open market bidding system that currently allows all the different imprints to compete with each other freely for books at auction.
More on Mr. Dohle’s arrival in New York in this Wednesday’s paper.