Engstrom takes reins at Reed Elsevier

Smith parts company with publishing giant

LONDON — Erik Engstrom, CEO of scientific publisher Elsevier and a member of Reed Elsevier’s exec board, has taken the reins of Reed Elsevier as chief executive following the resignation Wednesday of Ian Smith. Smith leaves the group, which owns Variety , after only eight months in the job.

Reed Elsevier chairman Anthony Habgood told London’s Daily Telegraph on Wednesday that Smith’s lack of experience of the media biz during a recession lay behind the departure.

Smith was previously CEO of construction company Taylor Wimpey.

Habgood said there had been no disagreements on strategy, adding that Smith’s departure does not alter the company’s stance on whether to sell its magazines business, Reed Business Information. “I don’t see RBI going,” he said.

Reed Elsevier announced in December that it had dropped plans to sell RBI, opting instead to go ahead with the sale of all but a few businesses — Variety , Marketcast and 411 among them — in RBI’s U.S. portfolio earlier this year.

Habgood said of Engstrom: “Erik is a very strong, proven international executive. He has been on the board of big companies, such as SCA, the Swedish paper company, and he has a deep knowledge of the sector.”

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