HarperCollins CEO Is “Person of the Year”

Andrew AlbaneseAs December opens and the year approaches its end, ‘tis the season – for awards. In the publishing industry, Publishers Weekly is handing out the latest round of ribbons and medals. The magazine’s list of notables for 2014 in the book trade includes Fiona McRae, director for two decades at the leading indie house Graywolf Press, as well as Jeurgen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair who has taken the fair beyond books and beyond Frankfurt.

As “Person of the Year,”  Publishers Weekly is honoring Brian Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Publishers. One of the world’s largest English-language publishers of consumer books, HarperCollins has publishing operations in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and India. Since being appointed CEO in 2008, according to the company, Murray has “led the transformation of HarperCollins from a traditional print publishing company to a dynamic print and digital publishing company generating $200M in digital revenues.” For FY14, HarperCollins reported in August that revenues rose 6% to $1.43 billion and profits grew 38% to $198 million.

“It is a fairly intense process to do this selection, and involves a lot of discussion and debate among staff. But as we talked, Murray really leapt to the front,” says Andrew Albanese, PW senior writer. “In Frankfurt, I had the chance to interview Murray on the main stage, where he stressed the need for experimentation in publishing, and trying new things. And Harper is certainly doing that.”

“We also call out librarians Robert Wolven of Columbia University and Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library system and American Library Association president, for their work leading the ALA digital content working group through its first three years,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “They have since handed over leadership of the group, but they did a great job opening lines of direct dialogue between library leaders and publishing executives, which did not really exist – surprisingly enough – in spite of a mutual interest in reading.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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