Over 40 student organisations in the US have urged the Department of Justice to block the proposed merger of publishers Cengage and McGraw-Hill. The student bodies, which include organisations from Bryn Mawr, Florida State University, Kansas State University, Northeastern University and the University of Oregon, warn, in a letter to the Assistant Attorney General Delrahim drafted by US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG): “The merger threatens to consolidate more power in the grasp of a handful of publishers, who have used their enormous market share to drive up prices for consumers over the course of the past few decades.” Five publishers – Pearson, Cengage, MrGraw-Hill, Macmillan and Wiley – control 80% of the US college textbook market, the letter says. “Because there are so few publishers…the normal rules of supply and demand have broken down...To maintain profit margins, publishers have put out custom or frequent new editions to make it difficult to find a used book for our classes, and have transitioned to offering expiring materials like access codes to eliminate the used market entirely.”
Gap Inc. today announced the appointment of Mary Beth Laughton as president and chief executive officer of Athleta. Laughton will begin her new role in late October and will serve on Gap Inc.’s senior leadership team reporting to president and chief executive officer Art Peck.
“Mary Beth brings a strong background in digital operations, a keen understanding of customers and an ability to deliver innovative experiences,” said Peck. “She is the right leader for Athleta, with a proven track record in driving consistent results in multiple growth markets, including performance apparel and beauty.”
“Athleta is a powerful brand that empowers women and girls through its inclusive, inspirational community and I am excited about the significant opportunity ahead for us,” said Laughton. “With innovative and sustainable product, beautiful marketing and a strong B Corp certification, Athleta is well positioned to grow and capture market share.”
Laughton is a 20+ year retail and digital executive with a strong background in driving omni-channel growth through innovative experiences at companies, including Sephora and Nike. Most recently, she was EVP of Omni retail for Sephora U.S. leading both the e-commerce and stores channels. She has overseen areas including digital marketing and merchandising, store operations and field, CRM/analytics, omnichannel experience and digital innovation. Additionally, during her tenure, Laughton increased the company’s online business 5x and improved store performance through a focus on innovative customer experiences coupled with operational rigor.
Prior to that, Laughton spent nine years at Nike, in a variety of roles including general manager of e-commerce for Europe and the director of e-commerce for Nike subsidiaries, including Cole Haan, Converse and Hurley. She has been a board member of REI since 2017. Laughton began her career at McKinsey & Company, focusing on the retail and digital sectors. She graduated from Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration and received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance from Indiana University.