Less than a month after it was reported that Random House CEO Peter Olson would be stepping down from his post, Jane Friedman announced Wednesday that she had resigned as president and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, a position she held for ten years. Soon thereafter, HarperCollins announced that Brian Murray, the company's president since July 2007, will succeed Friedman. The timing of the announcement has led to speculation that Friedman's intentions had been known to higher-ups for some time, though the news reportedly came as a shock to many of her colleagues.
"My ten years at HarperCollins have been far and away the most rewarding of my career and so it was not easy to make the decision to step down," Friedman said in a press release.
Friedman reported to Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of News Corps, which owns HarperCollins. "Jane has been a terrific leader who succeeded in attracting some of the world's most brilliant authors while, at the same time, delivering record-breaking profits," Murdoch said.
Prior to joining HarperCollins, Friedman had been the executive vice president of Random House, Inc., the executive vice president of Knopf, the publisher of Vintage Books, and the founder and president of Random House Audio Publishing.
Under her leadership, HarperCollins achieved record revenues, though the company did report a decline in operating income last year.