HarperCollins Beefs up Consumer Creds With Senior Vice President of Consumer Insight Hire, David Boyle

David Boyle

In its continuing effort to better understand consumers and its closer relationship with them, HarperCollins has hired David Boyle to be its new senior vice president of consumer insight.

At HarperCollins, Boyle, 35, will work across the company to bring consumer insights to every aspect of the publishing process – acquisition, content development and sales and marketing. The rise of ebooks has brought publishers, once exclusively business-to-business concerns, much closer to consumers. HarperCollins isn’t alone among publishers seeking to better understand and gain access to consumers.

“As digital becomes a greater part of our business, we have to better understand our consumers,” said HarperCollins chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi in a statement. Boyle will report to Restivo-Alessi and start on Feb. 4.

Boyle joins HarperCollins from music giant EMI where he held the same position, working across the business in 25 countries. He also held a similar position at zeebox, a consumer insight start-up. Before entering a career in consumer insights, he spent several years in retail, a UK chains Dixons and, before that, Tesco. Prior to his time in retail, he was an analyst working on U.S. voter information technology Catalist and, prior to that, for the Labour party in the UK. He also held analyst positions in philanthropy and consulting early in his career. He has a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Warwick in the UK.

HarperCollins has been aggressively hiring senior-level executives from outside the publishing industry. Restivo-Alessi was an investment banker at ING prior to her time at HarperCollins. New chief marketing officer Angela Tribelli joined the company from NYC & Company, a public-private partnership to promote New York City and tourism. She also spent time in magazines at American Express Publishing.

One thought on “HarperCollins Beefs up Consumer Creds With Senior Vice President of Consumer Insight Hire, David Boyle

  1. Walter Petticrew

    Please do not take these comments in a harsh manner that is not my intent. I am a \veteran\ within the technology sector, and I must say I somewhat chuckle at what this article highlights, a serious crack in the foundation of the publishing sector. All industries and sectors have their moments of new revelation, back in the 80’s and early 90’s while helping to establish the LaserJet line and brand at Hewlett-Packard, we spent a great deal of time gaining consumer insights, but it was everyone’s job, we did not have a VP of Consumer Insight. Everyone, from the executive staff, engineers, programers, marketers, we all went down to the customer hotline and listened to the customer calls. We even went to customers homes, all around the world, everyone was assigned to go to one of our retailers and spend three days working the floor.

    I am baffled because it is very difficult for an industry or sector to be more in the consumer space than the publishing industry. So the good news is that the sector understands it has a problem, that bad news is that you need a VP of consumer insights and a staff/department to undertake this. I hope for HarperCollins that Mr. Boyle true role is to change culture and is empowered to do it.

    Frankly the publishing industry would be wise to seek out those who have been through the waves of change in the technology sector going back to the 90’s. Why, because publishing is now going through what the technology sector went through in the 90’s. As I sat through DWB conference and read articles I feel as though I have gone back in time. Yogi Berra was right, \It’s like deja vu all over again.\

    I see the industry doing a lot of the right things right now, but I also see far too many publishers making the same mistakes that many large, well entrenched technologies companies made in the late 80’s and 90’s who were gone ten years later. Watched and witnessed many cellular and mobile device companies to the same thing over the last decade. History repeats itself.

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