HarperCollins Makes Series of Hires, Promotions to Bolster Digital Strategy, Execution

HarperCollins has hired two digital product development executive directors, a newly created position, to help bolster its digital platforms and products for individual genres and titles. At the same time, it has promoted Ana Maria Allessi to the global position of vice president of digital innovation.

The new hires will report to HarperCollins vice president of marketing Carrie Bloxson and are part of a strategy at the company to create centralized support for digital operations which have been embedded within all the U.S.-based publishing units. Responsibility for supporting the imprints at the company is being divided among the two hires.

“We want to think more strategically about how the book manifests itself as not just a book,” said new HarperCollins chief marketing officer Angela Tribelli, who oversees Bloxson and is managing this move. “How else can the reader experience what the author is trying to convey outside the boundaries of the book and how do you extend the experience for the reader?”

Adrianna Dufay will join HarperCollins on Oct. 22 from JPMorgan Chase where she was a senior marketing manager responsible for product development. Prior to Chase, she spent much of her career in various product development and editorial positions for AOL. Dufay will support the Avon, William Morrow, Morrow trade paperbacks, Voyager, and HarperOne imprints.

Brian Perrin joined HarperCollins in early Sept. from NBC Publishing where he was director of digital development. Prior to NBC Publishing, Perrin held positions at magazine publisher Rodale, Barnes & Noble and Running Press Books, where he was associate publisher and editorial director for five years. He will support Amistad, Ecco, Harper, Harper Business, Harper Design, Harper Perennial, Harper trade paperbacks, and It Books imprints.

“It’s a totally new role here so part of the job is actually to invent the job,” said Perrin. “The goal is to figure out what’s the right digital play for each author and then plan and execute digital products concurrently with the print book.”

The new positions will include development of apps, social gaming, video products and work on any relevant emerging technologies.

Bloxson, who will oversee the two positions, was brought on by Tribelli, the new HarperCollins CMO, just a month after Tribelli joined the company herself. Bloxson, like Tribelli, came from NYC & Company, a public private partnership for promoting New York City and tourism.

As opposed to the new digital positions reporting up through the marketing department, Allessi’s new position at HarperCollins as VP of product development is a global role and will report up to the new chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi. Allessi will be responsible for planning and executing digital initiatives across HarperCollins divisions worldwide and for ensuring that those entities share digital knowledge and develop and use digital best practices.

Allessi, who joined HarperCollins in 2001 as an audio editor, will also still oversee the company’s audio business in the U.S. while her other previous responsibilities as VP and publisher of HarperMedia, including for enhanced e-books and video, will fall to other executives within the company.

Allessi has already been working in the new role for some time but it will be announced at the company in an official capacity today, said a company spokesperson.

In an August interview with Digital Book World, Restivo-Alessi alluded to the company’s overall strategy of building a centralized support network for digital initiatives within publishing imprints and worldwide.

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