Publisher Of 'Fire And Fury,' Stephen Rubin, Names Successor

October 03, 2018 - 8:26 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Rubin, the publisher of such blockbusters as "Fire and Fury" and "The Da Vinci Code," has made plans for a successor.

Rubin will leave his position as president and publisher of Henry Holt and Company next May. He joined Holt in 2009 and will remain as chairman, continuing to work with some authors and "perhaps even occasionally acquiring projects," Rubin wrote in a company memo shared Wednesday with The Associated Press. He has chosen Ben Schrank, who currently oversees the Razorbill imprint at Penguin Random House, to replace him.

"I have been doing this job for many moons," Rubin, 76, wrote to Holt employees. "And I think the time has come for a fresh pair of eyes to look at our publishing program and to reinvigorate the splendid people who make the magic happen."

Rubin has been in publishing for more than 30 years and ran Doubleday Broadway at Random House before a corporate shakeup led to his departure a decade ago. Few can match his knack for picking hits. At Doubleday, he released John Grisham's breakthrough thriller "The Firm" and Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," which raised Brown from obscurity to one of the world's most successful authors. At Doubleday, he also began a long relationship with Bill O'Reilly, which continued at Holt, even after O'Reilly was forced out of Fox News over allegations of sexual harassment. (As chairman, Rubin will still be working with O'Reilly).

Early this year, Holt released Michael Wolff's gossipy takedown of the Trump administration, "Fire and Fury," one of the biggest hits of 2018 and the kind of commercial work Holt would have shunned before Rubin's time. But he continued to publish critical favorites, including Hilary Mantel, Barbara Ehrenreich and Paul Auster.

According to Rubin, Schrank will join Holt next month as vice president and publisher and become president and publisher May 1. Rubin said he was seeking change and Schrank has a very different background. Razorbill publishes middle grade and young adult books, describing itself as "committed to taking risks and exploring new ways to tell stories," with books ranging from Jay Asher's "Thirteen Reasons Why" to Richelle Mead's "Vampire Academy" series. Rubin said he especially liked how Razorbill created its own projects.

"What attracted me to Ben, beyond his quiet charm and intense intelligence, is that a good portion of Razorbill's intellectual properties are internally generated," Rubin wrote in his memo. "One of the few frustrations I have experienced at Holt is that we are too reliant on outside-originated properties. ... In our far-reaching talks, Ben impressed me as having the perfect open sensibility for Holt's unpredictable boutique style publishing program."

Schrank himself is an author, and published the novel "Love is a Canoe" with Farrar, Straus & Giroux, a sister imprint of Holt's at Macmillan. Rubin's announcement continues a wave of transitions at Macmillan. FSG's longtime president and publisher, Jonathan Galassi, announced earlier this year that he would be succeeded by Mitzi Angel. Also in 2018, Sally Richardson of St. Martin's Press moved from president and publisher to chair of the imprint. She was succeeded by Jen Enderlin.

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