May 8 – May 15, 2008 Edition

NY Times Says
Random House CEO
May Leave Bertelsmann

NEW YORK, NY/5/5/2008–The New York Times today ran an unconfirmed report that Random House CEO Peter Olson will leave RH and its parent company, Bertelsmann, within several months. Neither Bertelsmann nor Random House would comment on the Times story. However, Bertelsmann’s new chief executive Hartmut Ostrowski and others reportedly have been concerned about lagging performance at Random House, where revenue declined 5.6% and earnings fell 4.9% in 2007.

Olson, who had been ill with pneumonia late last year, is said to be considering other non-publishing opportunities. Bertelsmann is expected to formally announce the executive change during its board meeting, scheduled in a few weeks. Though their is no apparent successor to Olsen, The Times said Random House UK head Gail Rebuck is a potential candidate.

This is not the first time rumors have circulated about Olson’s department. At the London Book Fair in April, there was talk of his departure, and a German magazine published an article in April saying he would leave the company within a few months.

Olson, in addition to serving as CEO of Random House, also manages Bertelsmann Direct North American. The book club unit was put up for sale earlier this year.