Hachette UK announced the creation of a unified children’s division, Hachette Children’s Group, bringing together Hachette Children’s, Orion Children’s, Little, Brown Children’s and Orchard Books as of January 1. Managing director of Egmont UK Hilary Murray Hill will join the company to serve as CEO of the new division on January 13. Marlene Johnson will run the line as ceo until then, and will retire from Hachette at the end of January 2015. Clare Somerville will be deputy managing director. No other jobs are affected by the consolidation; the company says “the aim of the merger is to develop new strengths in children’s publishing from a successful base.” Penguin and Random House put their children’s lines together in a single division in the UK at the beginning of 2014.
Hachette UK ceo Tim Hely Hutchinson says in the announcement, “We are bringing our abundant talent into one children’s publishing division that will be focused on ambitious and creative publishing programs in every children’s publishing area and for every age group. Our six current imprints will continue, retaining their identities and their individual strengths under the leadership of their current Managing Directors and Publishers.”
He says of Johnson, “I am extremely grateful to Marlene for steering and leading this new design that caps her wonderfully inspiring and successful publishing career of over 40 years…. There will be many further opportunities to thank Marlene but for now I want to acknowledge her outstanding contribution to children’s publishing.”
The current Hachette Children’s sales team will handle sales for division, led by sales director Jason McKenzie, reporting to Lucy Hale. As of January 1, all books published by the group will be distributed by Bookpoint. The group will also include two educational imprints, Franklin Watts and Wayland. Some Orion and Little Brown children’s staff will relocate to the company’s offices on Euston Road “where it makes sense,” prior to the company’s larger consolidation into shared offices in spring 2015.