Penguin Random House CEO Resigns

    Photo: wsj

    The Facts

    • Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle will step down from his leadership role at the world's largest consumer book publisher by the end of the year. Parent company Bertelsmann announced his resignation publicly on Friday.

    • Dohle's resignation comes just weeks after a US judge blocked a $2.2B merger between Penguin Random House and rival Simon & Schuster. Dohle was reportedly the primary architect of the deal.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Play silly games, win silly prizes. It's no surprise that Markus Dohle has left Penguin Random House. What a disaster of a plan that, as CEO, he was responsible for. Dohle has enough industry experience that he should have been able to see this coming — the deal as proposed would have lessened competition for top-selling books and been a blow for authors. This is a win against rampant mergers and acquisitions that ultimately hurt consumers.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The collapse of Penguin Random House’s proposed purchase of rival Simon & Schuster was orchestrated by external forces in an unfair and unprecedented manner. Unfortunately, Dohle was caught in the crossfire. The merger would have helped combat a changing book landscape in the face of e-commerce giants like Amazon, while increasing competition and payments to authors.

    Establishment split



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