CEO of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, has announced he will step down at the end of the year after a U.S. judge blocked a planned $2.2 billion merger with competitor Simon & Schuster.
As reported by Reuters, the company said Friday that Dohle resigned on his own volition, saying that it was “at his request and on the best of mutual terms.”
“Following the antitrust decision in the U.S. against the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, I have decided, after nearly 15 years to hand over the next chapter of Penguin Random House to new leadership,” Dohle said in a statement.
Judge Florence Pan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Oct. 31 that the Justice Department had effectively demonstrated that the merger of two of the largest publishers could hinder fair competition “in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books.”
The DOJ has asserted in their case that the merger would lead to hinder competition, limit the diversity of subject matter, and lower advances for authors who earn $250,000 or more per book deal. As reported by Axios, Penguin Random House said the court’s decision was “unfortunate” and would “immediately request an expedited appeal.”
Nihar Malaviya, Penguin Random House’s current president of the U.S. branch, will take over as interim CEO on Jan. 1, 2023.
Thomas Rabe, chief executive of Penguin’s German owner Bertelsmann, said that Malaviya may become the new CEO. “We’re looking at that over the next year,” he told Reuters.