CEO of Hachette Book Group will step down at end of the year

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of Hachette Book Group, Michael Pietsch, is retiring as CEO and will be succeeded by Hachette UK CEO David Shelley. Pietsch, who has worked with authors ranging from Keith Richards to Donna Tartt, will serve as chairman of the U.S. publisher starting Jan. 1 of next year.

“I’m proud of everything that all of us at Hachette Book Group have accomplished in the past decade, in close partnership with our authors — thriving, growing, and reinventing ourselves through complex and challenging times," Pietsch, 67, said in a statement Tuesday.

Shelley, who will also remain as UK CEO, said in a statement that “Hachette Book Group publishes some of my favorite authors of all time and it’s hugely exciting to be able to get to know them and work on their books with the talented team in the U.S. I’d like to pay special tribute to Michael as he has been a key figure for me over the years.”

Richard Kitson, deputy CEO of Hachette UK, will also take on the same role for Hachette Book Group. The announcements were made by parent company Hachette Livre.

Pietsch, who previously served as publisher of the Hachette division Little, Brown and Company, presided over an era of expansion, including the acquisition of such companies as Workman Publishing and Hyperion Books. Along with publishing Richards' “Life,” Tartt's “The Goldfinch” and James Patterson's many blockbusters, Pietsch also was involved with a book Hachette didn't release.

In 2020, Hachette announced it would publish Woody Allen's “Apropos of Nothing.” It soon dropped it after protests by everyone from Hachette employees to Hachette author Ronan Farrow, Allen's estranged son and among those who have alleged Allen sexually assaulted his daughter Dylan Farrow. Allen, who has denied the allegations, later sold his memoir to Skyhorse Publishing.