Sales Reorganization at Hachette Designed to Focus Efforts on Digital

Hachette Book Group has reorganized its sales staff to align itself with the evolving publishing industry and to capitalize on digital opportunities, according to an announcement from the company’s new chief marketing and sales officer Evan Schnittman.

The reorganization will see the Hachette sales force divided into three divisions: retail sales, sales strategy and operations (which will include online sales), and international, Canada and special markets.

Sales staff headcount was not reduced as a result of the reorganization and the company will be increasing sales headcount slightly over time, Schnittman told Digital Book World in a phone interview today. Several new positions have been created within the new sales structure. Currently, there are about 100 people in the Hachette sales organization.

The new sales structure will, “bring the sales and marketing functions in line with the changing book market – unifying print and digital sales, and integrating research and analytics into HBG’s overall sales strategy,” wrote Schnittman, who joined the company in March, in the announcement.

Several Hachette executives have been given promotions as part of the reorganization. A new senior vice president has also been hired to oversee the sales strategy and operations division.

Chris Murphy has been promoted to senior vice president of the newly created retail sales department. He was previously vice president of sales. He will oversee five sub-departments: national accounts, Christian Bookselling Association sales, sales and services for distribution clients and sales for Hachette’s Nashville division (faith-based content outside of the Christian market), young reader sales and the national field force. He will report to Schnittman.

Hachette has hired David Bowers to be SVP of sales strategy and operations. He was most recently at Oxford University Press where he was global vice president of business development and publisher of Oxford Academic Dictionaries. Bowers will oversee sales analytics, retail promotion, retail services, e-book platform services, metadata, business modeling and working with key authors in addition to online retail and jobber accounts. He will report to Schnittman.

The third sales division, international, Canada and special markets (ICS), will continue to be led by Jean Griffin as vice president of ICS and publishing director of Ansel Adams. She will report to Schnittman.

The sales reorganization also resulted in a series of promotions below the senior vice president level.

Rick Cobban, has been named VP of national accounts. Mike Heuer has been promoted to executive director of the national field force. Rich Tullis has an expanded role as channel director for online retail and jobbers. Karen Torres has been promoted to VP of account marketing and retail operations. Andy LeCount has been promoted to channel director for chains. And Linda Jamison has been promoted to channel director for merchandising and clubs. All will report to Murphy, the new SVP of retail sales, except Torres who will report to Bowers, the new SVP of sales strategy and operations.

“We are changing our current structure to enable HBG to meet the needs and challenges of our ever-shifting world, where digital has made a deep and lasting impression on the way HBG sells and the customers we sell to, the platforms we advertise on, and the manner and type of content we publish,” wrote Schnittman in the announcement.

Hachette has been undergoing changes in its executive leadership. Schnittman came on in March to take over the sales and marketing organization. In Sept., the company announced the its CEO David Young will be stepping down in April 2013 and will be replaced by Michael Pietsch, currently the head of Little, Brown and Company, an Hachette division. Young will be statying on as chairman of Hachette Book Group and will also become deputy chief executive of Hachette UK and CEO of the Orion Publishing Group. Ken Michaels, Hachette chief operating officer, was promoted in Sept. to president and chief operating officer.


Update on Hachette’s E-Book Contract Negotiations Post-DOJ Settlement

In the midst of this sales reorganization, Hachette has been involved in negotiations with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and other major e-booksellers to craft new sales agreements following court-mandated termination of previous agreements per the e-book price-fixing settlement between Hachette and the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to Schnittman, who is leading the negotiations for Hachette, a deal with retailers will happen well within the time frame allotted by the court and that an announcement should be expected soon.

“Everything needs to be completed within certain time frames and we are well on our way,” Schnittman said. “In the world we live in, if you can’t multitask, you can’t survive. All of the above has been going on simultaneously.”


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