Friday, April 3, 2009

Houghton Mifflin CEO to Retire

Tony Lucki, chief executive officer of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co, said in an internal email to colleagues that he has decided to retire as chief executive on April 15, according to a WSJ report.

Lucki will be succeeded as CEO by Barry O'Callaghan, the 39-year-old chairman of the publishing group's parent company, Education Media & Publishing Group Ltd, based in Dublin. Lucki will continue as chairman.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's trade group, which publishes such authors as Philip Roth and Paul Theroux, made news late last year by briefly curtailing purchases of new titles and by laying off some staff. At the same time, Education Media & Publishing Group, which has roughly $7 billion in debt and is primarily a publisher of K-12 textbooks, said it would consider offers for the trade-publishing arm. Education Media said in March that the offers it received weren't sufficient and announced that the trade division was no longer for sale.

In his memo, Lucki noted that he has been associated with both Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt for nearly 30 years. "Recent steps we have taken put the company in an even stronger position to deliver value to our customers and to build on our market leadership. We are on sound operational and financial footing and have great potential to grow our trusted brands and businesses," he said.

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