Has there been a bigger page-turner in the book world this year than the repeated missteps of Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle? His attempt to merge PRH with Simon & Schuster was thwarted by the Department of Justice in an antitrust trial, as such a megaconglomerate would negatively affect competition for writers, not to mention eliminate jobs in an already struggling industry. Dohle began his trial testimony in August with the absolute clunker, “Everything is random in publishing. Success is random. Best sellers are random. So that is why we are the Random House!” Then workplace texts were revealed where he called PRH “screwed” post–merger agreement.
And now, on December 9, Dohle capped off the year by announcing his resignation as CEO of the big-five company. “Following the antitrust decision in the U.S. against the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, I have decided — after 15 years as CEO of Random House, which became Penguin Random House — to hand over the next chapter of our global publishing business to new leadership,” he wrote in a memo to staff. According to the publishing-industry gossip account xoxopublishinggg, Dohle signed off that companywide email with an extremely unliterary “see ya.”
Well, then. See ya!