HarperCollins Combines Zondervan and Thomas Nelson to Form Christian Unit, Schoenwald to Be CEO
By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid
In a move expected by publishing observers, HarperCollins has wasted little time in integrating its acquisition of Thomas Nelson by combining it with its Zondervan unit and forming a Christian publishing division.
Mark Schoenwald, formerly the Thomas Nelson CEO, has been appointed president and CEO of the combined operation, pushing out Scott Macdonald, the president and CEO of Zondervan, who will stay on in an advisory role, the company said in a statement today.
Thomas Nelson was thought to be the largest Christian publisher in the U.S. until it was acquired by HarperCollins, a deal that closed last week. Zondervan, a subsidiary of HarperCollins, was thought to be the second largest Christian publisher. The acquisition and integration make HarperCollins the largest Christian publisher in the U.S.
HarperCollins announced its $200 million acquisition of Nashville-based Thomas Nelson late last year but the acquisition didn’t close until July 11. Thomas Nelson has several blockbuster titles, including Heaven is for Real and Jesus Calling.
Schoenwald, 50, joined Thomas Nelson in 2004 as chief sales officer and rose to the rank of CEO in 2011. Prior to Thomas Nelson, he held several roles in private equity, primarily on the operational side running companies.
Macdonald was appointed president and CEO of Zondervan in March 2011. He joined the company in December 2010 as acting general manager of Zondervan’s The City business unit. Prior to Zondervan, he had experience running a chain of Christian stores and has had several executive roles at technology companies.
In 2009, about 2% of Thomas Nelson’s publishing revenue was digital. In 2011, that number jumped to 12%. By 2015, the company expects 40% of its publishing revenue to be digital, Schoenwald told Digital Book World in an interview in November 2011.
Write to Jeremy Greenfield