U.S. CEO Madeline McIntosh joins exodus of executives from Penguin Random House

Portrait of Madeline McIntosh
Madeline McIntosh is stepping down as U.S. CEO of Penguin Random House.
(Paul Brissman)

One of Penguin Random House’s top executives, U.S. Chief Executive Madeline McIntosh, is stepping down. Her decision comes just weeks after the resignation of the global CEO, Markus Dohle, and the retirement of Random House Publishing Group head Gina Centrello.

The departures all follow last fall’s ruling by a federal judge to block the company’s attempted purchase of rival publisher Simon & Schuster, and an antitrust trial in Washington, D.C. ,last summer that revealed tensions among Penguin Random House executives.

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McIntosh, appointed U.S. CEO in 2018, had risen steadily at the publisher through numerous reorganizations. On Tuesday, she cited both the need for change at the publisher — “CEOs shouldn’t stay in their seats forever” — and her own desire for “professional growth.” She has worked on and off in book publishing for decades, and briefly worked for as part of a Kindle e-reader team based in Luxembourg.

“My path through books has never been linear,” she wrote in a company memo. “From editorial, to new media, to sales, to audio, to Amazon (and Luxembourg!), to leadership of our digital transition, to the making of Penguin Random House, to publishing with the Penguins, and finally to this seat: It’s a road that would have been hard to plan for or predict. The points of my biggest pivots are exactly the ones that taught me the most.”

McIntosh will not leave immediately; she plans to work “very closely” with Nihar Malaviya, Penguin Random House’s interim global CEO, “to determine the best plan for the U.S. organization going forward.” In a separate company letter, Malaviya wrote that he had been “fortunate to have learned so much from Madeline throughout the years we have worked together and have benefited from her friendship, both personally and professionally.”

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