Jane Friedman Leaves HarperCollins; Murray Becomes CEO
Wow. First Peter Olson. Now Jane Friedman.
Effective immediately, Jane Friedman has retired as CEO of HarperCollins. In a statement, News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch said, "Jane has been a terrific leader who succeeded in attracting some of the world's most brilliant authors while, at the same time, delivering record-breaking profits. We are enormously grateful for her contributions over the past 10 years and understand her desire to seek new challenges at this point in her career."
Brian Murray, who has been president of HarperCollins Worldwide for a year and has worked for the company for more than a decade--for three years as head of HarperCollins Australia--takes over as CEO.
Among his many activities, Murray has been highly involved in digital strategy, including direct-to-consumer marketing, and said yesterday, "I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to invest in and grow our publishing businesses around the world at a time when digital technologies are creating new opportunities to bring authors and readers together."
During her tenure at HarperCollins, Friedman built the company into a powerful force in publishing and has attracted some of the most talented people in the book world to work for HarperCollins. Several news reports said that she had intended not to renew her contract so as to leave "on a high note." Apparently the timing of the announcement was forced by a Gawker item yesterday about her plans.
We first met Murray years ago during his time in the outback, and as the Wall Street Journal observed, he is "a soft-spoken, straight-forward executive, [and] widely liked inside HarperCollins." He's also widely smart.
Congratulations to Brian Murray. At the same time, we're very sorry to see Jane Friedman leave.