Sternlight, Tracy, Streitfeld, Scheier All Out at Random House as Flagship Division Reorganizes

The dramatic reorganization of Random House initiated a month and a half ago by new C.E.O. Markus Dohle came one

The dramatic reorganization of Random House initiated a month and a half ago by new C.E.O. Markus Dohle came one step closer to completion this morning, as the publisher of the company’s biggest division—the flagship Random House Publishing Group—sent a memo to staff announcing a new executive structure.

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The length and complexity of the memo—written by RHPG’s president and publisher Gina Centrello—said it all: This reorganization really hurt, and a lot of people from the group are losing their jobs.

While Ms. Centrello did not specify how many positions would be eliminated in her memo, she did acknowledge the need for staff cuts and devoted a paragraph to expressing gratitude to those who have been let go. Notably, such a paragraph did not appear in analogous memos sent out yesterday by Knopf chairman Sonny Mehta or Crown president Jenny Frost. Asked whether this difference in approach signaled that cuts at the Random House group were more extensive than they had been at the other two divisions, Ms. Schneider said it does not.

"We always do that," Ms. Schneider said. "It’s a courtesy to people who have left the company."

As far as who those people are: several sources said Judy Sternlight, an editor at Random House’s Modern Library who recently worked on Peter Matthiessen’s National Book Award-winning novel Shadow Country, has been laid off.

Ms. Schneider would not confirm or deny this or any other specific staff change, but noted that control of the Modern Library list—previously under the jurisdiction of RHPG trade paperbacks publisher Jane von Mehren—is being handed over to recently appointed Little Random editor-in-chief Susan Kamil as Ms. von Mehren’s job expands to include oversight of trade paperback operations for Bantam and Spiegel & Grau (mass market at Bantam and Ballantine will be run by Nita Taublib and Libby McGuire, respectively).

Ms. Schneider said that John Flicker, who has been editing non-fiction at Bantam and running its classics line, is moving over to Modern Library as a senior editor and will report to Ms. Kamil. Asked whether the staffing changes at Modern Library—the once-proud classics line that Bennet Cerf ran for two years before opening Random House in 1927—indicate that the character of the books published through the imprint will change, Ms. Schneider said that Mr. Flicker has the background to maintain the brand. She added that most curatorial decisions are made in collaboration with the authors who make up Modern Library’s advisory board, which includes Maya Angelou, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie, Gore Vidal, and more than a dozen others.

Among the others laid off at the Random House group as part of today’s reorganization is Bruce Tracy, the widely admired editorial director of Ballantine’s Villard imprint. When asked whether Villard would continue as an independent imprint within Random House, Ms. Schneider stressed that she could not confirm the elimination of Mr. Tracy’s position but said that the Villard imprint will continue to exist regardless of whether there are editors dedicated to acquiring for its list.

"No imprint is being eliminated," Ms. Schneider said. "All of our editors feed all of our imprints. Libby McGuire continues as publisher of Ballantine Books, which incorporates Villard as well as several other imprints. We will continue to publish under the Villard imprint."

Other editors laid off as part of today’s reorganization are Anika Streitfeld—who was brought over to Ballantine after she discovered Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel The Time Traveler’s Wife, and more recently worked on Amanda Ward’s How to Be Lost—and Liz Scheier, an editor who specializes in sci-fi and genre fiction and who joined Del Ray in the spring of 2007.

Cuts also took place elsewhere in the company—at least one person was laid off in the art department—but the specifics of those changes could not be confirmed.

Finally, while Paul Bogaards, the publicity director at Knopf, emphasized to reporters yesterday that the reorganization in his division would not require editors there to reduce the number of titles published every year, Ms. Schneider said she could not rule it out for RHPG.

"Our answer to that is too early to tell about title counts," she said. "Those decisions are going to be made over time by each of our publishers."

Full text of the memo from Gina Centrello below:



Last month we welcomed to The Random House Publishing Group the imprints of Bantam Dell, including The Dial Press, as well as Spiegel & Grau. Today I am pleased to present to you the senior management team and organizational structure of our newly expanded division, which will enable us to carry forward the publishing traditions of Random House, Ballantine, Bantam Dell, and Spiegel & Grau.

Under the umbrella of our newly expanded group, we have the great pleasure of publishing books by many wonderful and bestselling writers over the next twelve months. These include new titles from E. L. Doctorow, Sarah Dunant, John Irving, Tracy Kidder, Lisa See, and Neil Sheehan (Random House); Steve Berry, Justin Cronin, Julie Garwood, Kathie Lee Gifford, Laurell K. Hamilton, Linda Howard, Jonathan Kellerman, and Jeff Shaara (Ballantine); Sara Gruen, Suze Orman, and Iain Pears (Spiegel & Grau); Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Stephen Hawking, Dean Koontz, George R. R. Martin, Karin Slaughter, and Danielle Steel (Bantam Dell); Terry Brooks and the STAR WARS program (Del Rey); and Sophie Kinsella (The Dial Press).

We also look forward to publishing paperback reprints of THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Dial), Jon Meacham’s AMERICAN LION (Random House), and, at year end, John Grisham’s THE ASSOCIATE.

The publishers for this remarkable array of books, reporting to me, are

NITA TAUBLIB is appointed Executive Vice President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief, Bantam Dell. Formerly Deputy Publisher and Editorial Director, Nita joined Bantam in 1982 and became Associate Publisher in l990. In her new role she will direct the hardcover and mass-market publishing programs of the Bantam Dell imprints—Bantam, Dell, Delacorte, Delta—as well as remain the editor of Danielle Steel and Luanne Rice. The Bantam Dell editorial department continues to report to her, as do GINA WACHTEL, who has been promoted to Vice President, Associate Publisher, and KATE MICIAK, editor of Lee Child and Lisa Gardner, promoted to Vice President, Editorial Director.

LIBBY McGUIRE, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Ballantine Books, will continue to oversee Ballantine hardcover and mass-market imprints—Ballantine, Villard, Del Rey, One World, ESPN Books, and Presidio—working closely with KIM HOVEY, Vice President, Associate Publisher, who also serves in that capacity for Trade Paperbacks under Jane von Mehren. All the Ballantine editors will continue to report to Libby, as will Editorial Director LINDA MARROW, now named Senior Vice President.

SCOTT SHANNON has been promoted to Vice President, Publisher, for Del Rey and Spectra, the industry’s two preeminent science fiction and fantasy imprints, which will remain separate lists under a single publishing management. Scott will oversee their editors, as well as those in our manga program, and will continue to report to Libby.

CINDY SPIEGEL and JULIE GRAU continue to lead Spiegel & Grau, their imprint founded in 2005, as Senior Vice Presidents and Publishers, with their editors reporting to them.

I remain Publisher of the Random House imprint, overseeing this program with my key editorial executives: KATE MEDINA, Executive Vice President, Associate Publisher, and Executive Editorial Director, and SUSAN KAMIL, our newly appointed Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief. Reporting to Susan, in addition to the Random House imprint editors, are JENNIFER HERSHEY, Senior Vice President, Editorial Director, and JOHN FLICKER, formerly Senior Editor, Bantam Dell, who has been promoted to Executive Editor, Modern Library.

JANE VON MEHREN, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Trade Paperbacks, will take on the added responsibility for all trade paperback lines within the expanded Random House Publishing Group. The trade paperback editors will report to her, and she and they will work collaboratively with the originating editor and publisher on a plan for each book.

Also reporting to me is PAOLO PEPE, appointed Senior Vice President, Creative Director, Random House Publishing Group, with oversight of all art direction for the group. His direct reports will include ROBBIN SCHIFF, promoted to Vice President, Executive Director, Art & Design, for Random House, The Dial Press, and Spiegel & Grau; BECK STVAN, Senior Director, Art & Design, for Trade Paperbacks; and an Executive Director, Art & Design, Ballantine and Bantam Dell, to be appointed shortly.


The books developed by our talented publishers and editors will be enhanced by a large, highly skilled and motivated support team. We are centralizing our publishing support areas under the leadership and direction of two newly appointed Group Executive Vice Presidents, TOM PERRY and BILL TAKES, continuing to report to me.

TOM PERRY, Deputy Publisher of the entire Random House Publishing Group, will have an expanded list of direct reports. These include SALLY MARVIN, Vice President, Publicity Director, of the Random House imprint, who will now additionally oversee The Dial Press and Spiegel & Grau publicity; and THERESA ZORO, who has been named Vice President, Publicity Director, of the newly united Ballantine and Bantam Dell publicity department. BRIAN McLENDON has been named Vice President and will serve as Deputy Director of Publicity for Ballantine and Bantam Dell.

SANYU DILLON has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Marketing Director, Random House Publishing Group. She is now responsible for marketing for the entire group, continuing to report to Tom. Reporting to Sanyu is STACEY WITCRAFT, named Vice President, Director, Creative Services, in charge of advertising and promotion for the expanded group. Sanyu will also lead a new team: AVIDEH BASHIRRAD, Marketing Director, Random House, The Dial Press, and Spiegel & Grau; CHRIS CABELLO, Deputy Marketing Director, Del Rey and Spectra; BRANT JANEWAY, Deputy Marketing Director, Ballantine; CAROLYN SCHWARTZ, Vice President, Marketing Director, Bantam Dell; and ANNE WATTERS, Associate Marketing Director, Trade Paperbacks.

Also reporting to Tom will be ANDREA SHEEHAN, Vice President, Director, Digital Strategy & Business Development; GRANT NEUMANN, promoted to Senior Copy Director for the expanded Copywriting Department; and KELLE RUDEN, who joins the Publisher’s Office as Coordinating Director for the group.


BILL TAKES has been promoted to the newly created position of Director of Publishing and Business Operations, Random House Publishing Group, responsible for all financial and operational support.

Bill continues to supervise the group’s Subsidiary Rights Department, newly headed by REBECCA GARDNER, formerly Foreign Rights Director at Doubleday. She has been named Vice President, Director of Subsidiary Rights, Random House Publishing Group. Rebecca will sell foreign rights for Random House, The Dial Press, and Spiegel & Grau together with JOELLE DIEU, who has been promoted to Associate Director, Foreign Rights. Also reporting to Rebecca will be RACHEL KIND, newly named Director, Foreign Rights, Ballantine and Bantam Dell, working with DONNA DUVERGLAS, Manager, Subsidiary and Foreign Rights, Bantam, and RACHEL BERNSTEIN, promoted to Director, Domestic Rights, for the expanded group.

In addition, Bill will now oversee Publishing Operations, led by LISA FEUER, Senior Vice President, Executive Director, Publishing Operations, who will be in charge of production, managing editorial, and interior design for the expanded group. Newly reporting to Lisa will be TOM LEDDY, appointed Vice President, Director, Production. BENJAMIN DREYER, promoted to Executive Managing Editor and Copy Chief, and CAROLE LOWENSTEIN, promoted to Senior Director, Interior Design, continue to report to Lisa.

PATRICIA TUCKER, newly promoted to Director of Business Affairs for the entire group, with responsibility for overall business management including budgetary and financial projections, continues to report to Bill, as does MITCH ROGATZ, President and Publisher, Triumph Books.


CAROL SCHNEIDER, Vice President, Executive Director, Publicity and Public Relations, our division’s spokesperson, continues to report to me.

Finally, an important new group role for CYNTHIA LASKY, currently Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Director, Bantam Dell, will be announced shortly.

Regrettably, with this restructuring we have had to eliminate some positions across the division. As a result, a number of our colleagues are leaving the company. We are grateful to them for their many significant contributions to our publishing efforts, and we wish them well.

Please join me in congratulating the new Random House Publishing Group leadership team. We look forward to working with our authors, booksellers, and Random House colleagues companywide to continue publishing great and successful books.

Sternlight, Tracy, Streitfeld, Scheier All Out at Random House as Flagship Division Reorganizes