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Seshni Jacobs appointed MD of Hodder Education

Seshni Jacobs

Hachette UK has appointed Seshni Jacobs as Managing Director of Hodder Education, as Lis Tribe retires after a decade in the role and nearly thirty years at Hodder Education. Jacobs will take up the role in January 2023, based at Hachette UK’s headquarters at Carmelite House, and become a member of the Hachette UK Board. Tribe will step down as MD at the end of 2022 and will remain as a consultant to the business until 31st March 2023.


Jacobs brings more than 25 years’ experience in education, spanning teaching, lecturing, assessment, teacher training, print and online publishing. In her roles at Pearson over the past 11 years, she has been instrumental in leading and driving successful business strategy to support customer acquisition, growth and retention, and product development. She joined Pearson in 2011 as Mathematics Publisher and then Head of Mathematics, before becoming Director of New Business Development for Pearson South Africa in 2017. In 2018, she joined the Pearson South Africa senior leadership team as Director of Product Management: Schools. In 2019, Jacobs was promoted to the English and Global Schools team based in the UK. In her current role as Director of Product Management: Global Professional Development, she facilitates cross-functional collaboration with global teams to ensure that all aspects of the business are aligned to deliver fit-for-purpose, customer-centred excellence. In this role, she also founded the Pearson Teacher Education & Learning (PTEL) Academy in January 2021, and its global presence now spans 52 countries.


Seshni Jacobs said: “I am honoured to be joining Hachette UK as MD of Hodder Education. It has been my career goal to lead a business that mirrors my vision and values – to make a difference in education by placing learners and teachers at the heart of all we do. The Covid pandemic has changed how people access and engage with educational content and this evolution provides Hodder Education with new areas for exploration and opportunity for growth. I am grateful for the opportunity to take the reins from a stalwart in the educational publishing community, Lis Tribe. Lis has provided a solid foundation for me to build on and I’m looking forward to leading the team and taking them on a new and exciting journey. Building on what Hodder Education is already really great at, my aim is to accelerate the transformation that has already begun to ensure the business achieves growth and a sustainable advantage ahead of the pack.”


Tribe spent the first five years of her career at Routledge as a social sciences commissioning editor, before joining Hodder Education in January 1993 as commissioning editor for vocational subjects, including catering and childcare. A move to curriculum publishing saw her publish for, or oversee, three rounds of UK curriculum change from 2000 onwards. Highlights of her time at Hodder Education include leading a period of significant organic growth, boosted in the UK by the acquisition of Rising Stars, and internationally by the acquisition of the Caribbean list from Pearson in 2014. As a result, Hodder Education was awarded Nibbies as Education Publisher of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and growth in international and assessment markets have continued ever since. Tribe is currently chair of trustees for the Publishing Training Centre, a Council member of the UK Publishers Association, and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Publishers Association.


Lis Tribe said: “It has been a joy and a privilege to lead Hodder Education for the past 10 years, and I have enjoyed nearly every minute of my time here. The division has flourished within Hachette UK, and I have been fortunate to work with a brilliant group of people with whom I share a love of education and a sense of purpose in what we do.  I am proud of what we have achieved together, but it’s the right time now to step aside so that the division can move into its next phase of growth and development. I wish Seshni all good fortune as she steps into a wonderful role.”


David Shelley, CEO of Hachette UK, said: “Over the last decade as Managing Director of Hodder Education, amongst many other achievements, Lis has helped to gain significant market share, led us successfully through curriculum changes and spearheaded some significant acquisitions for Hachette UK, including Rising Stars, John Catt, Illuminate and TeeJay. Most of all, she has developed a team at Hodder Education that is the best in the business, and which is operating brilliantly.

“I will miss Lis’s incisiveness, her intelligence, her energy, and her focus, all of which she has brought to the wider industry in her PA and IPA leadership roles, to the Hachette UK Board, as well as to Hodder Education. I have loved working with her for the past five years and wish her a fulfilling and happy retirement.

“Seshni is, I feel, the perfect person to take the baton from Lis at this pivotal time for education publishing. She brings with her significant experience from her time at Pearson as Director of Product Management and Founder and Director of the Teacher Education & Learning Academy, as well as from her years as an educator. She also brings with her dynamism and vision, and I am really looking forward to working with her.”


Hodder Education is one of the largest providers of curriculum and assessment materials in the UK, and a market leader in international schools publishing. The company delivers online services to most schools in the UK through its teaching and learning platform Boost and its assessment data and reporting service MARK.