Random House Closes the Book on CEO

Peter Olson to step down under pressure from German owners
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2008 2:57 AM CDT
Random House saw profits and revenue slip last year, in part because of the US dollar's weakness against the euro.   (Random House)
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(Newser) – Random House chief executive Peter Olson is expected to step down within weeks amid slumping profits and pressure from the company's German owners, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bertelsmann's new boss is dissatisfied with Random House's recent performance and insiders say doubts arose over Olson's strategies and his ability to turn the publishing company around, especially after some recent bouts of illness. He has run the company since Bertelsmann took over ten years ago.

"He encouraged a lot of turf wars and he played favorites. He didn't really fit into the publishing world," an industry expert complained of Olson. "But his legacy is that Random House is probably the best-oiled machine in the industry. "