Cover Stories: Penguin departure and birthday; Foyles' expansion
Friday 18 February 2005
The book trade has been shocked at the departure of Anthony Forbes Watson, chief executive of Penguin UK for eight years.
The book trade has been shocked at the departure of Anthony Forbes Watson, chief executive of Penguin UK for eight years. A frank statement from John Makinson, CEO of Penguin's global businesses, cited "genuine differences of view" and paid tribute to him for "building the most admired team in the industry". Strange, then, that Forbes Watson should go; even stranger, in some eyes, that Makinson - who joined parent company Pearson in 1996 as finance director - should also replace "Anthony with myself". Makinson, largely unknown to many in the wider industry, is not a publisher. There has also been a feeling that he should take the rap for Penguin's 2004 distribution disaster, resulting from the move to its new Rugby warehouse before full software testing. Forbes Watson and his team had to explain to authors why their books weren't in the shops. The decision was ultimately Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino's, but many felt Makinson should have fallen on his sword. He has now set up a more responsive executive committee for Penguin, to replace the eight-member board. Insiders say this was Forbes Watson's idea.
* Penguin's aim now is to draw a line under the past year and get on with celebrating its 70th birthday. Among other plans are a set of 70 A-format paperbacks with extracts from the big bird's vast canon. "Pocket Penguins" will launch in May. There will also be Jeremy Lewis's warts-and-all biography of Penguin founder Allen Lane, and Phil Barnes's book on Penguin design to tie in with a V&A exhibition.
* Good news for Foyles: having seen December sales rise by 17.9 per cent on the previous Christmas, it has now been chosen to run the bookshop at London's Royal Festival Hall, in place of Books Etc. The shop will open in June, and will carry around 30,000 books plus music scores.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw
Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile