Olson to Leave Random House, Say Bertelsmann Executives
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Random House Chief Executive Peter W. Olson will step down in the next few weeks, according to two executives at the book publisher’s parent company, Bertelsmann, who spoke on condition of anonymity. According to the report, Bertelsmann’s recently appointed chief executive, Hartmut Ostrowski, “has lost patience with the performance of the American operations and wants to install his own person … [who] would not necessarily be a prominent figure from New York publishing, and maybe not even American.”
Stuart Applebaum, a spokesman for Random House, the world’s largest consumer publisher, issued the following statement: “Mr. Olson is pursuing a normal schedule today and for the foreseeable future.” According to the Times sources, the terms and exact timing of Olson’s departure were still under negotiation, and an announcement could come after Bertelsmann’s board meets in New York later this month.
Olson has worked for Bertelsmann for 20 years. He was made chief executive of Random House in 1998 after Bertelsmann acquired the company from Advance Publications, a deal that Olson was instrumental in negotiating, said the Times article.