Macmillan Creates Management Committee with Diversity Emphasis; Sargent 'Stepping Back'
In a move that follows calls within the company and the industry for more diversity and inclusion, Macmillan Publishers is creating a 13-member Trade Management Committee that will run the U.S. company and that, strikingly, doesn't include CEO John Sargent, who said in a letter to staff, "I will step back from day to day management to make room for new voices." He will, however, remain in charge of Macmillan's overall global businesses.
In explaining the changes, Sargent said that last fall, he, Don Weisberg, Macmillan Publishers U.S. president, and Andrew Weber, Macmillan global trade COO, had begun "discussing how we might run Macmillan Publishers differently. In the last four weeks those discussions have taken on a greater urgency and scale. It is clear that we have to change who occupies the seats at the table when the important decisions are being made. It can no longer be Don, Andrew and me."
Under the new structure, the committee will "focus on running the overall company. The publishing houses will remain as independent companies, and the publishers will continue to report to Don directly." Macmillan publishers and imprints include Holt, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martin's Press, Tor/Forge, Flatiron Books, Picador, Celadon, First Second, Feiwel & Friends, and more. Macmillan itself is a subsidiary of Germany's Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.
|John Sargent at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2018.|
Sargent said the committee will be "a different and more inclusive management team, representing a wider range of experiences. This will be an exercise in changing power dynamics, and in making sure we have diverse perspectives in the decision-making process. We will make better decisions if our company structure is more representative of the world around us, and we can only do that if we align recruitment, training and retention with our day-to-day business decisions.
"This level of change is difficult, but I believe it is necessary. For some in the company this will be challenging, while others will see tremendous new opportunities. For the company as a whole I am confident that this will make us better and more capable in the years ahead."
In their own letter to staff, Weisberg and Weber said in part, "We need more diversity in the titles we publish, more committed positioning and marketing of these titles, more hiring and promotion of diverse staff, more inclusivity in the decision-making process, and more open dialogue throughout the organization."
The Trade Management Committee will "set the goals and objectives for the publishers, divisions, and departments that comprise U.S. Trade and Shared Services. In order to ensure accountability, the Committee will track the progress of key initiatives, including diversity and inclusion across the company and in our publishing programs, and report on results."
The Committee includes a mix of publishing, operational, and human resources representatives that will, they continued, "allow us to tackle the management of the company while ensuring increased diversity across functions. The group will include others on a project-by-project basis and will regularly solicit feedback and support from a broad cross-section of staff from throughout the organization.
"Creating true systemic change that is successful and sustainable is difficult and will require company-wide effort. We have a lot to do, and we need to be more focused and determined to make this happen quickly. Working together, there is no doubt we can become the company we aspire to be."
Besides Weisberg and Weber, the Trade Management Committee will consist of:
- A new head of diversity and inclusion who will report to Weber.
- Guy Browning, senior v-p, fulfillment, Macmillan Publisher Services and Macmillan Distribution.
- Malati Chavali, who has been promoted to senior v-p, publishing strategy and initiatives, and will work closely with the publishing divisions and the new head of diversity and inclusion to integrate D&I strategies into the publishing process and lead projects that will aid the publishers in advancing their independent D&I work. She will also help coordinate acquisitions and review frontlist and backlist strategy to ensure the publishing portfolio is representative of all voices.
- Erin Coffey, who has been promoted to senior v-p, communication and events, from v-p, communications, events and community services.
- Sonali Goel, director of talent and development.
- Jenn Gonzalez, who has been promoted to president of sales from executive v-p of sales.
- Helaine Ohl, v-p, global HR director.
- Leslie Padgett, senior v-p, publishing operations and technology.
- Dan Schwartz, who has been promoted to the newly created position of executive v-p, finance, strategy, analytics.
- Natasha Taylor, senior talent acquisition manager.
- Jon Yaged, president and publisher, Macmillan Children's Group.