Pearson veteran Ethridge leaves in restructuring

PEARSON has announced a shakeup of its management in a restructuring operation that will see one of its longest-serving executives depart.

The FTSE 100 education and media company, which owns the Financial Times (FT) newspaper and Penguin book publisher, said yesterday that Will Ethridge, the head of Pearson’s North American operations, will step down at the end of the year.

Ethridge, who was overlooked for the chief executive position when Marjorie Scardino retired in October, has been at Pearson since 1999 and has been on the board since 2008.

The 61-year-old will stay on in an advisory capacity but will be replaced by a number of his lieutenants as the company restructures management in a move chief executive John Fallon said was “designed to make Pearson more digital, more services-oriented, more focused on emerging economies and more accountable for learning outcomes”.

The new focus on online education and developing markets comes as Pearson struggles in the North American education market and prepares to merge Penguin with Bertelsmann’s Random House.

The restructuring, which will cost around £150m, will see chief technology officer Genevieve Shore become chief product and marketing officer.

John Ridding, the chief executive of Pearson’s FT Group, will lead a new section called “Professional” which will also run the firm’s English language learning business.