People: Shinker to Depart Gotham/Avery, Tart To Oversee Imprints; Penguin and Random Children's Merge In UK

President and publisher of Gotham/Avery Books Bill Shinker will step down on January 31 "to do consulting," after what Penguin president Susan Petersen Kennedy calls a "storied four-decade publishing career [that] uniquely includes the founding of two lasting Penguin and Random House imprints: Gotham Books and Broadway Books." Succeeding Shinker on February 3 is Brian Tart, who will also remain president and publisher of Dutton. Newly reporting to Tart are Gotham/Avery associate publisher Lisa Johnson;  Gotham editorial director Lauren Marino; and Avery editorial director Megan Newman. Gotham/Avery intends to continue publishing approximately 25 hardcover and 30 paperback titles annually.

Kennedy writes of Shinker: "I am sorry that Bill will be leaving. He was a worthy competitor in the past, a trusted colleague in the present, and I will continue to hold him in the highest regard in the future. He is passionate about books, and was never afraid to take risks on writers and books he believed in. His sense of humor, eclectic taste, and deep knowledge of books and publishing as a business: all of these traits and more have made Bill a wonderful addition to Penguin. (Also, he’s taught many of us to be better golfers.) Please join me in wishing Bill all the best in the future. He deserves it."

On Tart's new responsibilities, Kennedy adds: "Brian is the natural choice to take on Gotham Books/Avery. He has built Dutton into a truly unique home for writers: one that combines commercial sensibilities with focused, individual editorial and marketing author support, and he will now bring that dynamic to Gotham Books/Avery. Brian is disciplined in his acquisition strategies, innovative in his approach to digital marketing, and completely dedicated to his authors and their careers. In collaboration with his Gotham Books/Avery publishing team, and with the full support of Penguin Random House, I have no doubt he will continue Bill's work, and forge new creative partnerships with writers while continuing the Gotham and Avery brands."

In the UK, Penguin and Random House are bringing their children's book lines together in a single companywide children's division (the first such consolidated division since the merger last summer).

Penguin UK Children's managing director Francesca Dow will lead the new division, reporting to Penguin Random UK ceo Tom Weldon. Current Random House UK Children's head Philippa Dickinson will serve as consultant children's publisher, focused on key projects and authors, transitioning to "her long held desire to retire in 2015."

Weldon says the move will create "a brilliant and dynamic division capable of capturing the attention of the readers of tomorrow." In the announcement he adds: "We believe that having one really brilliant and dynamic children's division will allow us to compete even more effectively on behalf of all our authors, illustrators and licensing partners for the attention of young readers in an environment which now offers them an unlimited choice of entertainment and information." He notes that "in just three years Francesca has transformed children's publishing at Penguin, growing sales by 20 percent."

In other personnel news, Laurie Muchnick is joining Kirkus Reviews in February as fiction editor, following the resignation of Elaine Szewczyk. Muchnick has been writing and editing book reviews for more than 20 years, most recently at Bloomberg News, and currently serves as the president of the National Book Critics Circle.

Beth Vesel has joined the Irene Goodman Literary Agency as a senior vice president. She previously ran the Beth Vesel Literary Agency for ten years, and before that was a senior agent at the Sanford J. Greenburger Agency for fourteen years.

Dara Hyde has joined the Hill Nadell Literary Agency as an agent. Previously she was permissions and film rights manager at Grove/Atlantic.

At NAL, Kerry Donovan has been promoted to executive editor.

Former executive publisher of Granta Books and founder of Portobello Books Philip Gwyn Jones will join Scribe UK this month in the newly-created part-time role of editor-at-large, concentrating on fiction and nonfiction by writers from Britain and Ireland.

Helen Mackenzie has joined the Bell Lomax Moreton Agency as a literary agent, seeking new picture books. She worked previously at Random House UK Children's and Harper UK Children's.

Anne Rumberger has joined The Experiment as publicity, marketing, and sales manager. She was most recently publicity and marketing manager at Seven Stories Press.

Hayley Wagreich has joined Alloy Entertainment as an associate editor. She worked previously at Paper Lantern Lit and Disney-Hyperion. In turn, Kamilla Benko is joining Paper Lantern Lit as assistant editor starting January 27. She was an editorial assistant at Harper Children's.

Norton announced a new book publishing March 31 by Michael Lewis, FLASH BOYS, again about the financial world -- but they did not provide any additional details. Last summer Lewis wrote a long two-part piece for Vanity Fair on former Goldman Sachs programmer focused on high-frequency trading Sergey Aleynikov, so the internet has concluded high-frequency traders is the focus of the new work.

And in bookstore news, the owners of the building that houses the handsome Rizzoli Bookstore on West 57th Street in New York have decided to demolish that building (along with two other adjoining ones).  The LeFrak family and Vornado Realty Trust "declined to describe their plans" for redeveloping the space to the NYT, "But one executive who has been briefed on the plans said the owners hoped to find Rizzoli a new home."

Finally, GoodReads reports that they have enrolled 100,000 "verified authors" with pages on the site.