Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Inside Random House’s New Digital Transition Team

Ever wonder how the BIG publishing houses are organizationally structured to deal with everyday publishing tasks? Especially in the present upheavel and transition turmoil? Good preview for those who want to enter the more formal publishing industry. John’s editorial note: This writer sees the publishing industry as becoming de-centralized and more individual-empowered.

Today’s post gives an insight into Random House’s (RH) personnel structure and decision-making process through two high-ranking memos.

Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, reports on the memos:

In memos distributed to Random House employees Thursday, chairman Markus Dohle and Madeline McIntosh, president of sales, operation and digital, detailed new plans for the publisher’s digital operation while also announcing new homes and leadership for the audio and information group units that had been part of the old Crown Publishing Group.

Random House Audio Publishing and the Fodor’s Travel Group will now report to Nina von Moltke who has been promoted to v-p digital publishing development, a newly created position. Amanda D’Acierno publisher of RH Audio, and Tim Jarrell, Fodor’s publisher, will report to von Moltke. RH’s large print operations and Living Language brand will be overseen by D’Acierno. The other parts of the information group–The Princeton Review, Sylvan Learning and Prima Games–have become part of the Children’s Book division. Tom Russell, head of TPR and Sylvan, and Debra Kempker, head of Prima, will report to children division president Chip Gibson.

In explaining the moves, Dohle said TPR, Sylvan and Prima “share a core consumer base” with the children’s group and will benefit “from the educational orientation and consumer-marketing focus” of the children’s group. Moving RH Audio and Fodor’s under von Moltke will let them continue to further develop their digital capabilities.

Von Moltke’s appointment to v-p of digital development is one of three appointments made by McIntosh to create a senior leadership team that will direct new digital units that will support digital initiatives within the Random House publishing groups. In addition to von Moltke, Amanda Close has been named v-p ditgital sales and business development. She will lead a team that will establish strategy, terms, policy and programs relative to new business models, identify new business opportunities and mange existing digital relationships with different partners. Pete McCarthy has been appointed v-p, online marketing charged with developing online methods to fulfill his mission to “partner with our sales reps, our publishers, and our retailers to ensure we’re maximizing our ability to convert consumer interest to incremental purchases.” All three report to McIntosh.

Matt Shatz, who as v-p of digital had been a primary spokesperson for Random’s digital efforts, has left the company to join Nokia.

The memos, which contain a number a new appointments, are printed below.




February 25, 2010


We want to share with you today our next steps forward in accelerating the company’s transition to digital, growing our physical book sales, and increasing the efficiency of our customer- author- and publisher-support services. To best position ourselves to accomplish these strategic priorities we are making a number of changes and appointments in our Sales, Operations and Digital areas under Madeline McIntosh, which she presents in accompanying memos. We also have completed the new lines of reporting we began undertaking in December for the Audio division and for the businesses that have comprised the Information Group.

Madeline is announcing the formation of new teams that will be fully dedicated to digital-content development, digital sales development, and online marketing. I am very excited about these moves and about the additions she is making to her senior leadership team. Their mandate is to create and to catalyze publishing and entrepreneurial opportunities, both self-starting and in partnership with our publishing divisions. The e-publishing and online marketing activities originated and executed by the Crown, Knopf Doubleday, Random House, and Random House Children’s Books Publishing Groups will be indispensable to our authors and to our creative and commercial growth, and I am confident that the new support provided to those groups at the corporate level will be key ingredients in ensuring our success during and after the digital expansion.

Among Madeline’s new executive team, I have worked most closely with Nina von Moltke, who has reported to me as Vice President, Corporate Development. Nina’s new responsibilities as Vice President, Digital Publishing Development, are a natural progression from her previous role in which she applied her tremendous understanding of the evolving digital-publishing financial models to evaluating new corporate and divisional business opportunities. Aside from her new task of supporting the development of our digital content offerings across the divisions, Nina will also oversee the Random House Audio Publishing and Fodor’s Travel Groups. Both groups provide excellent models of successfully transitioning from analog to digital businesses, and I know that they and our traditional trade publishing groups will benefit by having them integrated into the corporate-level digital publishing team.

Amanda D’Acierno, Vice President, Publisher, Random House Audio, Books on Tape, Random House Large Print, and Tim Jarrell, Vice President, Publisher, Fodors, will continue to run their respective businesses, setting and implementing their publishing priorities and choices, reporting to Nina. We will further integrate the publishing activities under the Living Language brand into the digital content group, reporting to Amanda D’Acierno.

We also foresee expanded opportunities for The Princeton Review, Sylvan Learning, and Prima Games imprints as we bring them into the Random House Children’s Books division. Tom Russell, who leads TPR and Sylvan, and Debra Kempker, who heads Prima, will report to Chip Gibson. The former two businesses will complement and benefit from the educational orientation and consumer-marketing focus of Chip’s publishing teams. Prima and the Children’s Group share a core consumer base as well as a like focus on brand management and strong license partnerships. The combination of this considerable expertise will benefit them both.

Children’s Books will further expand to include the Tricycle Books young readers publishing program under Nicole Geiger, currently part of Crown’s Ten Speed Press. Tricycle now will be a Berkeley-based imprint of Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers and its frontlist and backlist will continue to be sold by Children’s Sales.

These new homes for Audio, Fodor’s, The Princeton Review, Prima, Sylvan Learning, and Living Language; our newly established digital-development teams; and Madeline’s appointments in Sales and Operations will help us grow sales and foster greater collaboration internally and with our authors, customers, and readers. I thank you for your support of these growth initiatives and for all our colleagues who will implement them.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________MADELINE MADELINE McINTOSH



February 25, 2010


Since returning to Random House in December, I have had the great experience of re-engaging with many of my former colleagues in Sales and Operations. I’ve been gratified to learn more about the ways in which the teams led by ANDREW WEBER, Senior V.P., Director, Operations and Technology, JOAN DEMAYO, Senior V.P., Director, Children’s Sales, and JACI UPDIKE, Senior V.P., Director, Adult Sales, have risen to the various marketplace challenges presented in the last few years. Of those, one of the greatest has been to create new systems, policies and programs to harness the opportunities presented by the explosive growth of the digital channel.

While everyone in my group has played a part in “managing digital” over the last year, the time has come to be more explicit regarding those individuals to whom we will look for digital business leadership in the future. The great news is that, in working with Andrew, Joan and Jaci to map out our needs for our digital and physical businesses, we have found that the people we need are already here at Random House: we have been able to realign our group to provide the resources required to ensure healthy digital growth while also continuing to invest in maintaining our leadership position in the print marketplace.

It is in this context that I’m delighted to announce the new leadership structure for Random House Sales, Operations and Digital. Andrew, Jaci and Joan continue in their current roles. Joining them as my direct reports are: NINA VON MOLTKE, V.P., Digital Publishing Development; AMANDA CLOSE, V.P., Digital Sales and Business Development; and PETE MCCARTHY, V.P., Online and Digital Marketing. Their new roles and departments are detailed below. A number of related changes within Andrew, Joan and Jaci’s departments are described in a following memo.

Digital Publishing Development

As V.P., Digital Publishing Development, NINA VON MOLTKE will have two key areas of responsibility: partnering with our publishing divisions to help accelerate and broaden their own digital programs, and oversight for those Random House, Inc. publishing lists for which digital distribution and web-enabled commerce are already the core business.

Reporting to Nina will be ANDREA SHEEHAN, formerly V.P. & Director, Digital Strategy and Business Development at the Random House Publishing Group, now in the newly created position of V.P., Digital Publishing and Product Development, which she will take on upon her return from maternity leave. In Andrea’s time in the Random House Publishing Group, she has provided critical leadership in the area of digital product innovation: together with her team, Andrea has spearheaded various initiatives around e-book format development, e-only content, IP development, redesign of online presences and mobile applications for major brands and authors, and innovations in digital marketing tools.

A Random House hallmark and point of pride has always been our decentralized approach to publishing entrepreneurship, and that will not change for our expanded digital mandate. By acting as facilitators and catalysts, Nina and her team’s role will be to help each publishing division bring its own unique vision to market as successfully as possible. Initial examples of services to be provided by this team include: strategic support in driving digital growth for key content categories; expertise in alternative business models (such as serializations, subscriptions, and advertising), content bundling or disaggregation; and start-up support for original digital publishing programs. The team will also be responsible for the ongoing backlist conversion project.

Also reporting to Nina will be AMANDA D’ACIERNO, V.P., Publisher, Random House Audio, Books on Tape and Living Language; TIM JARRELL, V.P., Publisher, Fodor’s Travel Publishing; FABRIZIO LAROCCA, V.P., Creative Director; and SUSAN LIVINGSTON, newly appointed as Director, Digital Business Management and Planning. All four are crucial “digital veterans” who will now be able to share their expertise more broadly.

To ensure that our digital efforts receive the appropriate publicity support and that we communicate effectively to our internal and industry stakeholders, SHEILA O’SHEA is named Director of Publicity, Digital Initiatives, reporting to Nina. She will work closely with the publicity departments across the divisions, as well as coordinate publicity efforts for the Fodor’s Travel group. Stuart Applebaum will continue to be our main media contact for any major corporate announcements and inquiries.

Digital Sales and Business Development

AMANDA CLOSE, currently V.P., Group Sales Director, Crown Publishing Group, will now become our V.P., Digital Sales and Business Development. Amanda earlier served as our V.P., Online Sales, and she stepped in with great agility when Jaci and I asked her to coordinate the cross-functional team evaluating Apple’s new e-book program. Her expertise, infectious enthusiasm, and astute analytical, technological, and product instincts will be invaluable in maintaining our position as the market leader in digital sales.

Reporting to Amanda will be JEFF WEBER, formerly Associate Sales Director, Amazon, now Director, Digital Sales; RANDI ROSENKRANZ, Senior Manager, Digital Channel Development; and LILLY KIM, Account Manager, Digital Sales.

This team’s responsibilities will include: establishing strategy, terms, policy and programs relative to new business models; identifying and prioritizing new opportunities for sales or licensing; connecting potential partners with the appropriate internal stakeholders; developing expertise in activities in other media categories that might apply to our own; and crafting programmatic merchandising support for our publishers’ new lists of original digital content.

They also will manage the overall digital relationships with our existing partners, including Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Google, Ingram Digital, Overdrive and Sony. Selling and merchandising our publishers’ lists will continue to reside within Jaci and Joan’s existing Online Sales departments, thus providing our publishers and accounts with sole points of contact at the product level. By focusing entirely on the opportunities and challenges of the digital channel, Amanda’s team will ensure we are maximizing volume and profitability, embracing innovation, and learning from our experience.

Online and Digital Marketing

PETE MCCARTHY, V.P., Online Marketing has been leading Random House’s corporate consumer online marketing efforts for the past two and a half years. During this time, he and his team have partnered with divisional marketers and with Chris Hart’s Applications Development group to create increasingly innovative approaches to reaching consumers online. While his department was originally created to explore direct-to-consumer sales, they have found their greatest success in driving consumers directly to retailers’ shopping carts – whether on the web or in bricks & mortar. Their recent work with Doubleday on the “second wave” campaign for Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is an excellent example of the sales magic that can be created by combining corporate technology and analytics expertise with the publisher’s stellar creative campaign.

To be successful in connecting our books with the largest audience possible, it is exactly this type of innovative, retailer-aligned approach that we believe will help to set Random House ahead of our competition. Therefore, we are now formally repositioning and expanding this department. As a member of our digital senior management team, Pete’s mission will be to partner with our sales reps, our publishers, and our retailers to ensure we’re maximizing our ability to convert consumer interest to incremental purchases.

Newly reporting to Pete will be CHRISTINE MCNAMARA, currently our V.P., Director, Adult Sales, Borders Group and Books-a-Million. Taking on the newly-created role of V.P., Partnership Development, she will be fully dedicated to integrating our online marketing efforts with those of our retailers and vice versa. We can look forward to having her bring her deep understanding of sales and publishing (as well as her excellent sense of humor) to bear in these new efforts.

Continuing to report directly to Pete is CHELSEA VAUGHN, Director, Online Marketing Operations. Chelsea will oversee the project management and analytics components of the campaigns in which her highly creative team, which includes Senior Managers Erica Curtis and Joanne Korn, is involved and ensure the dissemination to marketers throughout the company of any new techniques or tools created or discovered at the corporate level. Her team has continually helped us improve our ability to precisely and efficiently spur frontlist and backlist sales.

Pete’s department will continue to have oversight for, corporately-managed e-mail marketing lists, and our activity on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere on the web. They will be working to further develop category-based online communities such as, the highly successful science fiction & fantasy site launched last year. Making all these efforts possible are CAMILLE COLLETT, Director, Web Production and JINNY KWON, Creative Director, newly transferring from Crown online marketing.

As with Nina von Moltke’s digital publishing department, Pete’s team will act as incubators and catalysts, adding extra creativity and support to the excellent title and category marketing programs that will continue to be anchored at the divisional level.

As you may already know, Matt Shatz, until now V.P., Digital, has accepted an exciting new opportunity as Head of Strategic Content Relationships at Nokia, where he will be working to develop and grow Nokia’s digital content business. Matt has been instrumental in advancing the Random House digital strategy and initiatives since 2007. While all of us are very sorry to see him go, we do take comfort in the fact that we’ll be able to work with him as a partner as he establishes Nokia’s publishing related initiatives.

Please join Andrew, Jaci, Joan and me in congratulating Nina, Pete, Amanda and their teams on their exciting new responsibilities as we expand and advance our digital-publishing opportunities.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: