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Another publishing star exits: Chief executive, Victoria Barnsley, leaves HarpersCollins

The boss of Rupert Murdoch's British book publishing arm, HarperCollins, dramatically departed yesterday as parent company News Corporation moved much of the UK responsibilities to its head office in New York.

Victoria Barnsley, chief executive of HarpersCollins UK and International for 13 years, was said to be tearful as she broke the news to shocked staff. She will leave at the end of this week.

Charlie Redmayne, who has been running Harry Potter website Pottermore, will take over as the UK chief. But the Australia, New Zealand and India operations, which all reported to Ms Barnsley, will now be overseen by New York.

Ms Barnsley's exit comes a day after News Corp split in two, with the publishing arm separating from 21st Century Fox, the TV and movie business. One of the two most powerful figures in British publishing alongside Dame Gail Rebuck, who it emerged yesterday is stepping back from day-to-day involvement at Penguin Random House, Ms Barnsley said she was leaving "at the right moment".

Shock end of an era

HarperCollins staff were in a "state of shock" when yesterday's bombshell news was announced about their leader's departure.

Victoria Barnsley published some of the biggest selling authors of recent times, from Hilary Mantel to David Walliams. Insiders said she was bound to quit when the current restructuring wave stripped her of her international duties.

Tonight's HarperCollins party in Kensington Gardens has changed from a celebration of summer to marking the end of a publishing era.