Penguin Random House boss Markus Dohle resigns after failed merger
- December 10, 2022
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The CEO of Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, resigns weeks after his attempt to buy competitor Simon & Schuster was blocked by a federal court.
Markus Dohle’s decision will take effect at the end of the year. He will be temporarily replaced by Nihar Malaviya, 48, currently President and COO of Penguin Random House.
“Following the US antitrust ruling against the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, after nearly 15 years on the Bertelsmann Executive Board and at the helm of our global publishing business, I have decided to hand over the next chapter of Penguin Random House to a new leadership,” said the 54-year-old Jackdaw in a statement released on Friday by German conglomerate Bertelsmann.
Dohle is also leaving the Bertelsmann Executive Board. His departure was “at his own request and with the best of mutual consent,” according to the Bertelsmann statement.
Dohle was appointed CEO when Penguin Random House was Random House and led an era of tremendous growth, most notably the merger with Penguin in 2012-13 that made the new company the undisputed leader in the industry. But the failed Simon & Schuster purchase was embarrassing for Dohle, who had been pushing hard for the $2.2 billion deal.
After a dramatic trial this summer that included testimony from bestselling author Stephen King, who opposed the $2.2 billion merger, a federal judge blocked the deal in November.
Simon & Schuster’s parent company, Paramount Global, still intends to sell the publisher. Paramount is also the parent company of CBS News.
“We regret Markus Dohle’s decision to leave Bertelsmann and Penguin Random House,” Bertelsmann Chairman of the Board Christopher Mohn said in a statement. “He aligned Penguin Random House sustainably with growth and profitability. Under his leadership, our books division has more than doubled its sales and quintupled its profits. We have Markus Döhle to thank for the fact that our global book publishing group is in such a strong position today.”
Dohle’s contract expired in December 2025.
CBS News’ Irina Ivanova contributed to the coverage.