The Pearson-owned publisher has entered into a period of consultation with employees regarding the dismissal of around 10 per cent of its workforce, as it seeks to reduce costs, strengthen its appeal and “take advantage of structural change within the book publishing industry”.
Peer Random House also made cuts recently, blaming rising costs. But Pearson said yesterday that the cuts were not a result of the economic crisis but a reaction to the changing demands of the industry.
“Digital technology is altering the shape of book publishing, creating tremendous new opportunities but also putting unprecedented pressure on our costs and our traditional ways of working,” said Penguin group chairman and chief executive John Makinson. “We have to stay ahead if we are to grow and prosper.”
Penguin added that its UK managing director Helen Fraser is retiring and Tom Weldon, managing director of Penguin General UK, moves to the newly created role of deputy chief executive of Penguin UK.
Also yesterday, a spokesman for BSkyB confirmed that the group’s online sales house, Sky Digital Media, is looking to streamline its 50-person team as it reviews its overheads.
“This may lead to an overall reduction in headcount, potentially by around 5 per cent, although no decisions have yet been made and a consultation is underway.
“It is anticipated that this will be concluded by the end of July,” the company said.