PRH US chief executive Madeline McIntosh to step down

It was a headline-making end to the year for Penguin Random House (PRH) with the surprise departure of worldwide CEO Markus Dohle  in the wake of the blocked bid to buy Simon & Schuster.  Now it is an equally shocking start to the year for the company with the announcement that its US chief Madeline McIntosh is to step down from her role as PRH US CEO after nearly three decades with the company.

She told staff that she would not be leaving immediately but would work alongside interim CEO Nihar Malaviya for an unspecified handover period.  She said: “I know you’ll be in good hands with Nihar and the US board. They know and love this business as much as I do.”

She added: “I don’t think chief executives should stay in their seats forever. Fresh perspectives can be incredibly healthy and helpful for organisations and so I believe this is not only the best decision for me, but also for PRH. As much as I know we’d continue to thrive together with me here, I also think there’s good to be had in embracing change.”

McIntosh was appointed CEO of Penguin Random House US in April 2018. She had joined the Random House predecessor, Bantam Doubleday Dell, in 1994 as an assistant in the New Media department. In addition to the variety of positions she has held within PRH, she served in 2008 and 2009 as the director of Kindle Content Acquisition for Amazon, based in Luxembourg.

Her philosophical and thoughtful memo to staff continued: “Even though I’ve spent so much of my life in a single company, my path through books has never been linear. From editorial, to new media, to sales, to audio, to Amazon (and Luxembourg!), to leadership of our digital transition, to the making of Penguin Random House, to publishing with the Penguins and finally to this seat: It’s a road that would have been hard to plan for or predict. The points of my biggest pivots are exactly the ones that taught me the most.”

She concluded: “You’ll be curious about what my next act will be, and, believe me, I am, too! There are ideas I’ve had over the years that have never found a natural fit within PRH but which I’m excited to explore now. After all these years inside the safe and supportive home that is our company, I’m itching to make another leap.”