Macmillan Publishing’s trade group will establish a new 13-member “trade management committee” to set goals and objectives for all publishers, divisions, and departments under its purview, the company announced in two letters to staff on Monday, one from CEO John Sargent and another from president Don Weisberg and COO Andrew Weber. The new management team will set company-wide goals and objectives, though the publishing houses will remain as independent companies, and the publishers will continue to report directly to Weisberg. As for his role, Sargent said he will “step back from day-to-day management to make room for new voices” in the U.S. trade publishing operation, although he will remain in charge of the overall Macmillan global businesses. Macmillan’s college operations are not part of the new initiative.
The move is the most significant to date at Macmillan to address issues of diversity and representation in the publishing business, and comes two weeks after an industry-wide collective action protesting racism initially organized by five Macmillan employees took place (an action on which the publisher declined to comment). In their letter, Weisberg and Weber wrote: “We need to change as a company. We need more diversity in the titles we publish, more committed positioning and marketing of these titles, more hiring and promotion of diverse staff, more inclusivity in the decision-making process, and more open dialogue throughout the organization.” A title audit, a Macmillan representative said, already began four months ago.
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