Changes in My Leadership Team

Today I announced a few changes in our leadership structure. These changes are designed to better leverage my strengths and also make our team more nimble and competitive in the current economy.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/binabina, Image #316414

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/binabina

As Thomas Nelson’s Chief Executive Officer, I will now focus on the three areas where my team collectively agrees I add the most value:

  1. Vision and strategy;
  2. Author relations and product development; and
  3. External communications.

All three of these aspects of our business totally energize me. In order to focus on them, my direct reports will be reduced from nine to five:

  • Mark Schoenwald has been promoted to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer. He will continue to report to me. For the last four years, Mark has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer. During this time, I have witnessed the development of a great leader. Mark has an amazing ability to “cut to the chase” and get everyone working together on a common goal.

    In addition to sales, he will now also be responsible for all of publishing. This will provide tighter integration between these two functions, with a common set of metrics and accountabilities. This is something that is critical in order to navigate the rough seas we find ourselves in with this economy.

    With this change Tami Heim will step down from her position as Executive Vice President and Chief Publishing Officer, and will be leaving the company. She is a close friend and has been an important part of our leadership team. Tami has contributed in innumerable ways and led with wisdom, grace, and professionalism. She will be sorely missed.

  • HR, Legal, and all back-office Operations, which previously reported to me, will report to Stuart Bitting, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He will continue to report to me.
  • Mary Graham, our Executive Vice President and Chief Live Events Officer will continue to report to me. She is responsible for our Women of Faith and Revolve brands.
  • Lindsey Nobles, my Communications Director, and Vicki Parr, my Executive Assistant will continue to report to me.

We are also doing some consolidation under Mark to better balance his workload:

  • Gary Davidson will continue in his role as Senior Vice President, Christian Retail Sales/Ministry Development Group. This represents roughly half of our publishing sales business.
  • We are promoting Sally Hofmann to the role of Senior Vice President, General Markets. Sally has been our VP of Specialty Sales and has done a superb job. Now, in addition to Specialty Sales, she will oversee ABA, Mass Market, Export, Custom, and Remainder Sales. Together, this represents the other half of our business.
  • Brian Hampton, who leads our corporate brands division, will report to David Moberg, Senior Vice President of Nonfiction. This will consolidate all of our non-fiction publishing under one person. David will in turn report to Mark, as will Wayne Hastings, Senior Vice President of Bibles, Reference, & Curriculum; Allen Arnold, Senior Vice President of Fiction; Tod Shuttleworth, Senior Vice President of Specialty Publishing; and Gabe Wicks, VP of Design and Multi-Media.

This structure will free me up to be more directly involved in working with our authors to create the most compelling products and marketing possible. Mark will handle the day-to-day aspects of publishing (e.g., analysis, personnel, schedules, budgets, etc.). I will be on the point for the creative aspects of the business.

This is a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, I am sad to be losing Tami. However, I am very excited about the opportunities these organizational changes make possible for our future. With even better products and a closer alignment between sales and publishing, we will be better able to meet the challenges we are facing in the marketplace. They will also position us to win big as the economy begins to recover.

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  • http://human3rror.com human3rror

    congrats!

    • DerekDRobertson

      you the man human3rror

      • http://human3rror.com human3rror

        dude. i'm just a man, you're right.and i apparently can't spell either… i mean, lookit my name!

        • DerekDRobertson

          I think your name is very creative. Which then makes you a very creative man.

  • http://jimdrake.blogspot.com Jim Drake

    You are a wise mine to position your company for change. Way to go in challenging the status quo and reading the climate. And way to go in honing in on your strengths!

  • http://www.thischangesnothing.com Michael Covington

    Praying all the best for Tami as well as for TN.

  • Colleen Coble

    Oh NO!! I just LOVE Tami Heim! I will miss her so much. I love Mark too and am excited for his promotion, but oh how I'll miss Tami. I'm doubly glad I got to hug her at CBE.

  • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle Chowning

    Tough stuff. Thanks for being transparent in not just the what, but how and why. This stuff keeps me coming back to your blog.

  • http://www.withoutwax.tv Pete Wilson

    Excited about the future of Thomas Nelson.

  • Charla Apana

    Micheal, since you have added me as a friend on facebook, I have followed your status. Nice to see you wear your heart on your sleeves. A very transparent man that draws in the people who needs to witness what kind of man you are. A man of God that attracts interest that leads others to follow you and want to know your source.(which is evident God) A friend of mine wanted to know who you were, because you kept us updated constantly…we appreciate that. Keep doing what you are doing. I just feel God wanted me to tell you that. An honest man is hard to find these day…but God is proud of that. He can trust you.

  • http://www.johngallagherblog.com John_Gallagher

    Seems that change is a constant and necesary in today's ever-changing markets. Best of luck to you and the TN team

  • TUnderwood

    Congrats to Mark on the promotion. Sorry to see Tami move along, but streamlining is a critical business decision.

  • http://www.maurilioamorim.com MaurilioAmorim

    Mike, you have a great team. Mark will do an excellent job. Tami, however, will be sorely missed.

  • http://blog.hafchurch.org/peter Peter_P

    I know nothing really about Thomas Nelson or any of the people who work there but when you said: "I will now focus on the three areas where my team collectively agrees I add the most value" that told me all I needed to know about your leadership.

    Now…. there are a few leaders that I know personally who could use an attitude like that…. did God break the mold when he made you or are there more like you out there that I could try to hire?

    :-)

    • http://true-small-caps.blogspot.com Derek

      I know nothing really about Thomas Nelson

      It's a very interesting company with a rich heritage that goes all the way back to Scotland in 1798. There's a short history on the website somewhere. Fascinating reading.

  • Tami Heim

    Greetings Mike!

    I want to share how I feel about the changes. I am sad to be leaving the amazing family at Thomas Nelson. Each one has been a gift in my life. Their hearts and passion for delivering words of truth, light, and hope to a world in need has been inspiring. You and the team know I believe wholeheartedly in the announced leadership changes, the direction Thomas Nelson is heading, and how each leader is being called upon to lead in the area where God has given unique talents and strength. You know how passionate I am about people living in the zone God designed just for them. I love this team and pray God will bless this you abundantly.

    As for me, the past four years have been remarkable and I wouldn’t change a day of it. It has been a joy to serve the company, employees, authors, agents, and God in this season of my professional career. I look with great excitement towards the future and the next assignment God has planned for me. I leave feeling only love and appreciation for this experience and all the people. As Max Lucado would always remind us, ‘We are doing our part to add to the population of heaven.’ My time with Thomas Nelson has been a WOW in my life’s journey.

    Thanks Mike for all you have meant to me. You have been a wonderful mentor and friend. I know you always will be. Now just GO and ROCK IT!

    Living to serve – T.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tami. You are the epitome of grace, class, and professionalism. I think God is getting ready to expand your territory. I can't wait to see what this next chapter brings. I am sure we will both look back and say, "Well, of course. THAT's why that happened."

      May God continue to pour out His blessings upon you. I will be praying for you and Dale. I know good things are ahead!

    • Dan Glaze

      That's why Tami is one of the most admirable leaders I know. It is going to be exciting to watch how God is going to lead Tami. She creates WOWs.

  • http://www.rachelhauck.com Rachel Hauck

    Mike, thanks for your openness and honesty about doing business, and realizing how structure and models change over time.

    I only met Tami briefly, once, but have admired her from afar and pray with you that God will enlarge her tent and increase her boundaries.

    Blessings on you Mike, your new team, and Tami as she goes on God's journey.

    Rachel

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Rachel. I know God has great things for Tami. She is a treasure.

  • http://www.marlataviano.com Mara Taviano

    I love Tami. I'm so thankful you guys are parting on such good terms.

  • http://www.marlataviano.com Marla Taviano

    Yeah, I think my name's actually Marla.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Change is always fun. :) Does Mark Twitter / blog? Would love to learn from his insights as well.

  • J.A.

    Tami, do you have a blog? Twitter? Can't wait to see where God uses your giftedness next!

    • Michael Hyatt

      You can follow Tami on Twitter: @TamiHeim.

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  • http://josephmcole.wordpress.com Joseph Cole

    Question: How did the leadership team come to the consensus of your strengths on the team? I lead a board at my church. We would be so much more effective if we could collectively come to some understandings of each other's strengths.

    • Michael Hyatt

      First of all, they know me extremely well. Second, we all know one another's Strengths Finder results. I highly recommend Marcus Buckingham's entire strengths-based model. Thanks.

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  • http://josephmcole.wordpress.com Joseph Cole

    Thanks for the info! I've looked into Buckingham's model. Good stuff. I'm still in prayer seeking answers on how to unify our team around their strengths. I believe that what Buckingham is proposing is simply Ephesians 4 (…each joint supplieth…") put into business terms.

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