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Managing Director, Penguin General

We seek an exceptional leader to become the next Managing Director of Penguin General. This is a critical role with responsibility for the continued success and future vision of the division.

The Managing Director reports to the CEO of the Penguin Random House UK and sits on the PRH UK Leadership board.  They are responsible for the P&L of the publishing house, for delivering on the financial goals set by PRH centrally and for upholding high standards across all aspects of the publishing process.  Central to this is the development of a happy, inclusive and high-performing working culture. 

About Penguin General

Penguin General is one of seven adult publishing houses within Penguin Random House, with an annual turnover of between £40m and £50m.  Shortlisted for Publisher of Year for the last 4 years and winning in 2019, Penguin General has steadily grown its market share, its bestseller count, and its prize success as it has broadened the range of its publishing over the last decade. 

Penguin General comprises six distinctive imprints: Hamish Hamilton, Fig Tree, Viking, SandycovePenguin Life and Penguin Business and authors include: President Barack ObamaMichelle ObamaBernardine EvaristoAli Smith, Dolly Alderton, Dr Ranjan Chatterjee, Pat Barker, Colm Toíbín, Elif Shafak, Arundhati Roy, Zadie Smith, John le Carré, Nick Hornby, Richard Osman, Ben MacIntyre, Robert MacFarlane, Antony Beevor, Simon Sinek, Alain de Botton.  The back catalogue includes Anne Frank, JD Salinger, Donna Tartt, Raymond Chandler, Gerald Durrell and George Orwell. 

Our purpose is closely aligned to that of Penguin’s founder, Allen Lane: to publish good books for everyone. It is a broad church with books for anyone who is culturally inquisitive. The programme incorporates bestsellers and prize-winners, books of quality written for a wide audience. Penguin General books can be scholarly, but they are always accessible; they may be literary but also inclusive. Our authors are storytellers from all over the globe, and our simple mission is to connect them with a large and appreciative readership.

Candidate Profile

  • Deep leadership experience, able to champion and develop a team that is already highly successful.
  • Culturally inquisitive and creative, with an instinctive insight and feel for content that is special.
  • Fundamental appreciation of the commercial, with a deep understanding of the retail and consumer market, ambitious for the division and able to drive it forward with a growth mindset.
  • A natural ambassador who will thrive in forging meaningful relationships with authors, agents and across the wider publishing ecosystem.
  • Commitment to embrace and advocate for inclusion across every aspect of Penguin General.
  • Experience of significant P&L responsibility.
  • Excellent negotiation skills and proven experience negotiating at a high level.
  • Able to take decisions confidently despite ambiguity, and to deliver clear prioritisation in line with strategy and vision.
  • Enthusiasm for the wider cultural conversation and keenness to engage broadly across publishing and beyond.
  • Exceptional organisational skills and resilience to manage a wide range of complex situations and discussions.

Core Responsibilities

  • Set clear strategic goals and targets for the division, by imprint, by department and by commissioning editor; a high degree of prioritisation is required in partnership with the senior team, and especially finance, sales and communications.   
  • Long-term publishing strategy, collaborating with imprint heads on long-term plans and keeping abreast of trends and market data to ensure a growth mindset is embedded throughout the division.
  • Ultimate decision-taking over all acquisitions, ensuring robust and inclusive conversations, the viability of investments, and advising on acquisition strategy.
  • Publishing operations, managing every aspect of the division’s day to day business including campaign budgets, packaging, scheduling, and print decisions.
  • People management, oversight of all people areas from hiring, performance, and development to wellbeing. 
  • Diversity and Inclusion, leading the divisional action plan and working group, placing inclusion at the core of Penguin General.
  • Relationship management (UK & Global), devoting meaningful time to internal and external relationships, from collaboration and alignment with publishing divisions and Group functions, to key authors and agents.

Please apply with CV and cover letter addressed to Tom Weldon by midnight on Sunday 14th November.

Further information:

Direct reports: 11

Division size: 72

Compensation: highly competitive in line with the Penguin Random House UK leadership pay approach.

Location: Penguin General is based at our Vauxhall Bridge Road, London office.

What you can expect from us:

Our employees are the heart of our business. We have a range of benefits to reflect our commitment to our employees, some of which are:

•    25 days paid holiday entitlement in year one, plus bank holidays
•    Medical cover
•    Life assurance
•    Cycle to Work scheme
•    Discounted gym membership
•    Personal Learning Allowance
•    Generous pension scheme
•    Summer working hours (role dependent) 
•    Volunteering policy and charity matching
•    Employee Assistance programme
•    Mentoring programme
•    Extended Parental Leave policy 
•    60% Discount on Company books
•    Each site has trained mental health first aiders 
•    We plant a tree for every new employee to our business 

Our creativity is inspired by different perspectives, so we want our culture to be one of belonging, where everyone feels welcome and where differences are celebrated.

As a Disability Confident Committed organisation, we’re part of the offer an interview scheme. This is where disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role can opt in to get to the next recruitment stage. There may be some situations where volume of applicants means we can’t take all eligible candidates to interview.

We want to make sure disabled applicants can be their best at each step of the recruitment journey. If you need adjustments during the application process, we encourage you to get in touch with us at Remember, you only need to share what you are comfortable to for us to support your adjustment request. Find out more about our approach here:

Please note, we are not able to accept agency CVs for this role. Any CVs sent speculatively will not be eligible for a fee.


Managing Director, Penguin General

Penguin Random House Group, London
Freelance, Permanent
Administration, Publishing, Strategy, Operations, Management, Communications, Business Development, Finance, Acquisitions
Managing Director, Penguin General

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Deep leadership experience, able to champion and develop a team that is already highly successful.