Mr Jovanovich survived a double lung transplant in March last year and returned to work full time in September. However, side effects from ongoing medication are thought to have made it impossible for him to continue running a business that accounts for 60 per cent of Pearson's group sales and 64 per cent of its operating profits. Based in the US, Mr Jovanovich was also unable to make international flights after the lung operation.
Mr Jovanovich's departure is officially described as "long-term medical leave". The 55-year-old has been responsible for building up Pearson's most successful business and many in the City had seen him as an obvious candidate to succeed Dame Marjorie Scardino as group chief executive. The company intends to revert to the management structure put in place when Mr Jovanovich first went on medical leave early last year.
Instead of seeking a replacement for him, the three most senior members of Pearson Education's management will report directly to Ms Scardino. In the last full financial year, Pearson Education contributed pounds 2.4bn to the group's pounds 4bn of sales, and pounds 313m of operating profit out of the group's pounds 490m.
Mr Jovanovich said: "For over 30 years publishing has been my vocation and it was difficult to spend even a short time outside the industry. I now need to step back from the responsibility of running a $4bn international company."Reuse content