Carolyn Reidy, the president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, died on Tuesday morning after suffering a sudden heart attack, the company said in a statement. Reidy was 71. Her career at the publisher spanned 28 years; she joined the company in 1992, working in the Trades Division. In a statement, Dennis Eulau, the executive vice-president, chief operations officer, and chief financial officer, credited Reidy with “leading us to unprecedented growth on both the domestic and international fronts, and steering us through the transition to publishing in the digital era.”
From Eulau’s statement:
As a publisher and a leader, Carolyn pushed us to stretch to do just that little bit more; to do our best and then some for our authors, in whose service she came to work each day with an unbridled and infectious enthusiasm and great humor. Her fierce intelligence and curiosity, and her determination to know everything about a given subject if it could help us to be better, were matched by her complete and total accessibility: she wrote congratulatory notes to employees when they were promoted, and colleagues in every corner of our company always felt that they had a first-person relationship with her, and that they could reach out to her to discuss any subject and receive a thoughtful response in return.
Reidy was a force in the industry whose influence spanned genres and decades. The list of writers whose works she, to quote Eulau, “championed” includes six Pulitzer Prize winners: David W. Blight, Anthony Doerr, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Frank McCourt, David McCullough, and Siddhartha Mukherjee. She also shepherded works from the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dick Cheney, Bob Woodward, Jaycee Dugard, Stephen King, Dr. Oz, Jennifer Weiner, and Rhonda Byrne of The Secret fame. There is seemingly no corner of the world’s bookshelf untouched by Reidy.
“She walked through life with an abundance of joy, and loved to celebrate the accomplishments and milestones of her colleagues and friends with great generosity and fanfare,” Eulau wrote of his late colleague. “That so many of us at Simon & Schuster have been friends and colleagues with her for many, many years says everything about the kind of person and leader she was, and we will all miss her terribly.” On Twitter, many of Reidy’s colleagues at Simon & Schuster and the wider publishing industry have echoed his sentiments and paid tribute to her legacy.