16th July 2018

Mark Smith sells his equity stake in Bonnier Zaffre and steps down as CEO

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Bonnier Publishing is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with Mark Smith to purchase his equity stake in commercial fiction publisher, Bonnier Zaffre. As a result, Smith will step down at the end of the month to pursue new ventures.

Smith joined the company at the beginning of 2015, bringing adult fiction publisher Zaffre into the business for an undisclosed fee. CEO Smith has overseen the growth and development of Zaffre, Zaffre’s digital-first imprint, twenty7, and children’s imprints, Hot Key Books and Piccadilly Press.

Since 2015, revenue at Bonnier Zaffre has increased from £1m to £15m with bestselling authors including Wilbur Smith, Lynda La Plante, Heather Morris, L.S. Hilton, Rory Clements, James Swallow, Louise Pentland, Caz Frear, Patricia Wilson, Rosie Goodwin, David Young, Bear Grylls, Isla Fisher and Chris Hoy.

 

It’s been a great partnership with Bonnier Publishing and Bonnier Books and I look forward to cheering their continued success.

-Mark Smith

 

Mark Smith said: “The last three and a half years at Bonnier Zaffre, working with the brilliant team in Marylebone to build a commercial fiction company that covers both children’s and adult, has been a truly unique experience and Bonnier Zaffre is now firmly established and ready for the next stage of growth. The strategy of having a very narrow focus on both the types and number of books we published has produced regular appearances in the bestseller charts and rapid growth. Looking to the future, our authors, agents and partners are in great hands and there will be many more exciting developments to come. It’s been a great partnership with Bonnier Publishing and Bonnier Books and I look forward to cheering their continued success.”

Jim Zetterlund, Acting Group CEO and Chairman, added: “Mark joined Bonnier Publishing at the beginning of 2015 and, with the support of a stellar executive team, quickly gained a reputation for transforming debut authors into bestsellers and introducing established authors to new audiences around the world. What Mark has achieved in a relatively short period of time is quite remarkable and I’m deeply grateful for his help in setting up Bonnier Books’ English language fiction business. We’re all sorry to see him go, but I am confident that the business is in great hands with Kate (Parkin), Jane (Harris) and James (Horobin).

 

What Mark has achieved in a relatively short period of time is quite remarkable and I’m deeply grateful for his help in setting up Bonnier Books’ English language fiction business.

-Jim Zetterlund, Acting Group CEO and Chairman, Bonnier Publishing

 

Recently we have seen the team reach a turning point, building on their early success to establish Bonnier Zaffre as a highly respected commercial fiction publisher with a growing profile in the US. It is steadily growing its presence in the Sunday Times bestseller list and yesterday the team celebrated Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz claiming the number one spot, having already sold half a million copies worldwide since it published in January.”

Kate Parkin (Executive Director of Adult Publishing), Jane Harris (Executive Director of Children’s Publishing) and James Horobin (Executive Director of Sales and Marketing) will continue to oversee the business day-to-day, reporting directly into Bonnier Publishing UK CEO, Perminder Mann, until a replacement is found.

Smith will leave the company at the end of the month (July).