Pearson is welcoming a new chief executive, as Andy Bird, who led the company for three years, hands in his retirement notice.
Omar Abbosh, previously at Microsoft, will succeed Bird starting early next year as head of the London-based publisher.
Abbosh has over three decades of technology experience, most recently being the president of Microsoft’s Industry Solutions business, in sales, service and solutions.
The handover comes as Pearson shifts to a tech-driven future, embracing AI to modernise its educational products.
Shares in the company dropped more than five per cent on Wednesday morning following the announcement.
Omid Kordestani, chair of Pearson, said Abbosh has “extensive experience in creating and executing strategies to enable companies to harness technology and succeed in a world of disruptive change.”
“The business is now firmly established as a digital-first learning company, with technology driving significant growth,” said Bird.
“We are well positioned for future growth with a clear vision and a strong management team to deliver it. I am confident that Omar has the right skillset and experience to take Pearson forward,” he added.
Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the smooth succession plan will please investors, who may be sad to see a “respected” leader bid farewell.
“Omar Abbosh’s background in various tech leadership positions means the board is doubling down on plans to propel the education specialist into the next — very digital — chapter.
“While legacy declines in physical US course materials continue to be a hurdle that needs clearing, other efforts to drag its offerings online means performance has been steady of late,” she added.
In July, Pearson reported it achieved a 56 per cent increase headline growth for the first half of 2023, with its adjusted operating profit hitting £250m.