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Hachette UK and Hachette Book Group announce promotions and new UK structure

7 May 2024, London and New York — Hachette UK and Hachette Book Group have today announced promotions and structural changes designed to meet consumer needs in all formats and fuel Hachette’s growth in the UK, the US, and international markets.

Hachette UK will be structured into three core areas of publishing: Adult Trade, Children’s Trade, and Education. These strands will be headed up by three CEOs: Katie Espiner, Seshni Jacobs, and Hilary Murray Hill. They will report to and work closely with Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK’s CEO, David Shelley, to lead Hachette UK’s publishing.

The first strand, Adult Trade, encompasses Bookouture, Dialogue, Headline, Hodder & Stoughton, John Murray Press, Little, Brown, Octopus, Orion, and Quercus, and will be led by Katie Espiner, who steps up to CEO, Adult Trade Divisions. Espiner will be responsible for all nine divisions, effective immediately.

Espiner joined Hachette UK in 2015 as Orion’s Managing Director, where she transformed the division and led Orion to record-breaking performance and win Publisher of the Year and Imprint of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2021. Since 2022, she has been CEO of Hodder & Stoughton and Orion, overseeing Hodder & Stoughton’s best results in 20 years under the leadership of new Managing Director Oliver Malcolm. With a career spanning key roles at Penguin Random House and Harper Collins, where she launched Borough Press, Espiner is a passionate advocate for adult literacy, intersectional inclusion, and is an Executive Sponsor for Hachette UK’s Pride network.

The second strand, Education, comprises Hodder Education, the second largest education publisher in the UK and a key player in international schools publishing, led by current Managing Director Seshni Jacobs, who is promoted to CEO of Hodder Education, effective immediately. Jacobs, who joined Hachette UK in January 2023 with over 25 years of experience in education, swiftly transformed the business from a primarily UK-centric print publisher into a global EdTech solutions provider, resulting in an impressive 35% surge in export sales in her first year.NEWS RELEASE

The third strand, Children’s Trade, will continue to be led by the current CEO of Hachette Children’s Group, Hilary Murray Hill. Since joining in 2015, she has driven 90% growth and combined all Hachette’s Children’s publishing into one division. Murray Hill chaired the Children’s Group of the Publishers’ Association between 2018 and 2021, has been a school governor, and is currently a BookTrust board trustee.

Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK CEO David Shelley said: “After a record-breaking year at HUK in 2023, I’m extremely happy to announce a new structure which will help us reach evermore readers for our authors and creative partners’ works. I’d firstly like to congratulate Katie Espiner on her promotion to the newly created role of CEO, Adult Trade Divisions. Katie has proved her effectiveness with record results at both Orion and, in 2023, at Hodder. She’s a visionary leader and I know will help every one of the HUK divisions continue to flourish. I’m also happy to announce Seshni Jacobs’ promotion to CEO of Hodder Education. Seshni has had a huge impact since joining us, and I’m delighted to recognize this and support her ambition for growth in our education business, which has always been a key strand of publishing for us. And in Hilary Murray Hill, we are fortunate to have one of the most outstanding leaders in the children’s sector who has consistently led her business to new heights, and who has great plans for the future. With these three CEOs in place I am very excited about the future of HUK.”

To reflect Hachette UK’s ongoing international growth, Charlie King is promoted to CEO of Little, Brown Book Group and CEO, HUK International Divisions. King’s remit will expand beyond his current Little, Brown Managing Director role to lead Hachette Australia, Hachette New Zealand, Hachette India, Hachette Ireland, and Laurence King Verlag. In his Little, Brown role, King will report to Katie Espiner. In his international role, King succeeds, and will be reporting to, Hachette UK and Hachette Book Group Deputy CEO Richard Kitson, who has led all of Hachette UK’s international businesses since 2010. With this change, Kitson becomes Chair of HUK International Divisions whilst continuing to lead the Central Departments in the UK and US and working with Paperblanks, which Hachette UK acquired in 2022. King joined Hachette UK in 2010, and after five years as Little, Brown’s marketing director he stepped up to Managing Director in 2015. Since then King has overseen consistent growth, with Little, Brown delivering its best-ever year in 2023.

Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK CEO, David Shelley, said: “As Richard Kitson’s work has developed across all English-language markets, and as our international businesses under his leadership have shown unprecedented growth, it feels like the perfect time to help further fuel that growth with the promotion of Charlie King to directly oversee these businesses as CEO. Charlie has achieved extraordinary results for Little, Brown in recent years, consistently demonstrating exceptional leadership. I know he and Richard – who will remain very involved as Chair – have big plans for the Hachette companies in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, India, and Germany, and we are lucky to have dynamic, exceptional leaders in each of these countries.”

Nick Davies, currently Managing Director of John Murray Press, will step up to Managing Director of John Murray Press and Quercus to lead the two divisions, reporting to Katie Espiner. With his successful leadership of John Murray Press’ broad portfolio of specialist and trade publishing, evidenced by another successful year in 2023, Davies will look to accelerate the growth of both divisions, working with Jon Butler, who continues in his role as Managing Director, Quercus, and will report into Davies.

The current CEO of Hachette UK Distribution, Matt Wright, has become CEO of Hachette UK & Hachette Book Group Distribution. Joanne Westbrook, current COO of Hachette UK Distribution, is promoted to Managing Director of Hachette UK Distribution. In this newly created role, Wright will be responsible for leading the growth of Hachette UK and Hachette Book Group’s distribution business and their portfolio of client publishers, including Abrams (US), Chronicle (US), Yen Press (US), Thames & Hudson (UK), Quarto (US and UK), Elsevier (UK), Lonely Planet (UK & US), and Bloomsbury (UK).

Since Wright stepped up to lead the UK distribution business in 2011, he has overseen the business’ transformation to become an industry leader and home to the most advanced warehousing technology in the UK. Wright will oversee the UK and US distribution businesses with Frank Casolaro, Vice President Hachette Book Group Distribution, reporting into him, whilst Wright will continue to report to Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK CEO David Shelley. In the UK, Westbrook will step up to lead UK distribution and continue to report to Wright.

In the US, Hachette Book Group’s Ben Sevier steps up to President and Publisher, Grand CentralPublishing Group to recognise his successful leadership of Grand Central Publishing and to support the ongoing strategic growth of Hachette Book Group. In addition to his current role overseeing Grand Central and its imprints, Sevier takes on responsibility for Hachette Nashville and its imprints FaithWords, Center Street, and Worthy, led by Daisy Hutton, as well as Hachette Books and its imprint Hachette Go, led by Mary Ann Naples, who continue to lead their teams and will report into Sevier. Sevier joined the company in 2017 and has led a period of profit growth and list expansion for Grand Central Publishing, overseeing the acquisition and publication of books by many bestselling authors including David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Sally Field, Colleen Hoover, Antonia Hylton, Abby Jimenez, Admiral William McRaven, Min Jin Lee, Dr. William Li, and Kennedy Ryan. He continues to report into Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK CEO, David Shelley.

Also in the US, as announced in April 2024, Carrie Bloxson is promoted to SVP Culture and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, leading on Hachette UK and Hachette Book Group’s strategic vision for Changing the Story, the ambition for Hachette’s team, publishing, and authors to fully reflect society and meet all consumer needs. In February 2024, Sally Kim was appointed president and publisher of Little, Brown & Company.

Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK CEO David Shelley said: “With these promotions, I believe we will be able to harness the fantastic talent across both Hachette Book Group US and Hachette UK and help make it easy for evermore readers to discover the books we publish on both sides of the Atlantic. I’d like to congratulate Katie, Seshni, Charlie, Nick, Ben, Carrie, Matt, and Jo on their really well-deserved promotions.”

All changes and promotions are with immediate effect.