David Shanks, CEO of Penguin Group (USA), Named U.S. Book Publishing "Person of the Year"
Prestigious PW Honor Acknowledges Shanks' Leadership, Innovation, and Success
New York, New York, December 5, 2011... David Shanks, CEO of Penguin Group (USA), has been named "Person of the Year" in the U.S. trade book publishing industry by Publishers Weekly, the largest book publishing industry trade magazine in the country, it was announced today by Penguin Group (USA), one of the leading U.S. consumer trade book publishers, and a member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group.
Jim Milliot, Co-Editorial Director of Publishers Weekly, commented, "PW has been choosing a Person of the Year for seven years, looking to identify someone who has led his or her company to standout from the industry crowd. Penguin's strong operating performance, innovation in digital delivery and strong publishing program led us to select David in 2011, joining such recent honorees as Len Riggio, Richard Sarnoff and Jeff Bezos."
John Makinson, Chairman and CEO of Penguin Group worldwide, said, "David Shanks is the most restless publisher I have ever known. He never wakes up in the morning believing that what worked yesterday will necessarily work today. So he is constantly challenging every assumption in our industry through the filter of his extraordinary experience, knowledge and judgment. He is also an exemplary colleague and boss, tough but always fair-minded and compassionate. These qualities have delivered an outstanding record of growth and profitability at Penguin USA, year after year. I cannot think of a worthier recipient of this award."
David Shanks is featured on the cover of the December 5 edition of Publishers Weekly. This prestigious honor and cover story recognizes his strong leadership, vast knowledge, and forward-looking vision, all of which have led to the achievement of record success and creative innovations at Penguin Group (USA) since he took the helm of the company in 2001. Among his many achievements over the years, in 2005 Shanks pioneered Penguin Premiums, the first new mass-market format in 50 years. In the 1980s, Shanks and his colleagues had the foresight to begin acquiring electronic rights to books, well before the introduction of eBooks and eReaders. Now he is at the forefront of digital publishing and eExperimentation, with Penguin successfully launching new digital products and platforms, as the company's strong eBooks growth continues.
Shanks also is credited with expanding programs in the young readers division, bringing in more talent to join its top-tier team, resulting in increased market share growth and bestseller success. Shanks' reach and responsibility extends across the global stage. In addition to leading Penguin Group (USA), Shanks oversees and is directly involved in expanding Penguin's interests in Central America, South America, and Canada. As a result, Penguin has been successfully exporting some of its bestselling books and brands internationally.
The talented teams across Penguin Group (USA) that Shanks and his colleagues built and kept in place have resulted in ongoing industry leadership positions in the hardcover, mass market and young readers sectors as well as the achievement of a record number of New York Times bestsellers from such award-winning, bestselling authors as Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Nora Roberts, Ken Follett, Charlaine Harris, Sue Grafton, Ron Chernow, Khaled Hosseini, Nathaniel Philbrick, Clive Cussler, Harlan Coben, Michael Pollan, Kathryn Stockett, Elizabeth Gilbert, Junot Díaz, Geraldine Brooks, Steven Pinker, Niall Ferguson, Daniel Yergin, Terry McMillan, W.E.B. Griffin, Catherine Coulter, Steven Johnson, John Grisham, Eric Carle, Jan Brett, Tomie dePaola, Jay Asher, John Green and Richelle Mead, among many others.
During Shanks' tenure, Penguin Group (USA) books have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in five out of the past seven years, the most recent being Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow (The Penguin Press), which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Penguin has also won four National Book Awards over the past decade.
Shanks, along with Penguin Group (USA) President Susan Petersen Kennedy, developed an imprint business strategy, featuring the launch of several new imprints over the past decade, including The Penguin Press, Ann Godoff's imprint dedicated to publishing literary nonfiction and select fiction, and, most recently, David Rosenthal's Blue Rider Press, which publishes an eclectic mix of hardcover fiction and nonfiction titles, has already released three New York Times bestsellers. Under Shanks' leadership, Penguin Group (USA) also launched Portfolio, dedicated to business books, and Sentinel, a dedicated conservative imprint, both led by publisher Adrian Zackheim; Celebra, devoted to books on or by Hispanic celebrities, led by publisher Raymond Garcia; and C.A. Press, Penguin Group (USA)'s new Spanish-language imprint, led by publisher Carlos Azula. Of course, Penguin Group (USA) continues the long-running success of its highly revered core imprints, including G. P. Putnam's Sons, Viking, Dutton, Berkley/NAL, Penguin, Riverhead, Gotham, Plume, Philomel, and Grosset & Dunlap, among others.
Penguin has been at the forefront of maximizing the success of its bestselling brand-name authors while introducing and cultivating talented new writers. Always looking forward, Shanks has taken a progressive and bold approach to digital publishing by integrating eBooks, enhanced and amplified eBooks, eSpecials and apps with Penguin Group (USA)'s industry-leading print publishing programs. Most recently, Penguin announced its first digital imprint, InterMix. Penguin has built a 21st century way to further expand its world-renowned brand. In recent years, the company has launched its own speakers bureau, a television and radio satellite tour division, and a new media suite. In 2011, the company celebrated the 65th anniversary of Penguin Classics with a number of new promotions and special publishing programs, and this summer introduced a Penguin merchandise program including Penguin-branded products.
In addition to his publishing business achievements, there are many ways in which Shanks gives back to the community. He sits on the boards of charities and institutions, including the Englewood, NJ Hospital and Medical Center. He annually chairs a golf and tennis event that each year raises a new record amount of funds for Jumpstart, a national organization that supports early education in low-income communities. Shanks also supports and authorizes Penguin's annual contributions to many major literary organizations and events, including the PEN International World Voices Festival, Literacy Partners, the National Book Foundation, the National Book Festival, Poets & Writers, the Authors Guild, the Harlem Book Fair and UJA-Federation of New York's Publishing Division, which honored Shanks at its 2011 annual fundraising dinner in May, and set a new record with the largest amount ever raised by one publishing house at a UJA Publishing Division dinner.
Note to the Press:
David Shanks became CEO of Penguin Group (USA) in 2001, when he succeeded Phyllis Grann as head of the company. Shanks had previously been Chief Operating Officer of Penguin Putnam since 1997 after serving as President of the Putnam Berkley Group for over six years, prior to the merger of Putnam Berkley and Penguin USA. He was also President of The Berkley Publishing Group and Senior Vice President of The Putnam Berkley Group for six years.
A voracious reader, Shanks has devoted his entire professional life to publishing. After graduation from Holy Cross College in 1968, his first job was book manager of the Brauninger News Company in Trenton, New Jersey. In 1974, he left Brauninger News to join the Village Voice, where he was Vice President of single-copy sales, and in 1978 became Director of Planning and Operations for Select Magazines.
Shanks joined The Berkley Publishing Group in 1979 as Vice President and Director of Sales. In 1982, he was promoted to Senior Vice President and Director of Planning and Operations, where he oversaw all business aspects of the company including sales, production and forecasting. He remained in this position until his appointment to President of The Berkley Publishing Group in 1985.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.