Bird out of hand, two in the bush
Phyllis Grann has retired as CEO and prexy of Penguin Putnam, and the publishing house has appointed two execs to replace her.
Penguin Putnam chief operating officer David Shanks will succeed Grann as CEO, while exec veep Susan Petersen Kennedy is taking over as prexy.
Grann, who oversaw the conglom’s emergence as America’s second largest trade book publishing house in the wake of the 1996 merger of Penguin USA and Putnam Berkley, said she will pursue other opportunities.
“I have reached a point in my life when it is time to start a second act,” she said.
Grann, who will leave her post at the end of the year, is arguably the most powerful woman in American publishing. In her long reign at Putnam Berkley — she joined the company as editor in chief in 1976 — she’s edited such authors as Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Clive Cussler, Dick Francis and Terry McMillan.
Last year, Penguin Putnam had sales of $1.13 billion.