Carolyn Reidy, the longtime president and CEO of Simon & Schuster who championed multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, died on Tuesday morning after having a heart attack. She was 71.
After serving as president of Avon Books, Reidy joined Simon & Schuster in 1992 and became CEO in 2008, steering the publisher through the rise of e-books as well as the financial downturn following the 2008 crash.
Among the authors she helped champion were Hillary Clinton, Walter Isaacson, Bob Woodward and Doris Kearns Goodwin.
“Carolyn was both an exemplary leader and a supremely talented and visionary publishing executive,” Simon & Schuster’s Executive Vice President Dennis Eulau said in a statement. “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.”
In addition, best-selling novelist Jennifer Weiner paid tribute to Reidy on Tuesday. “I was lucky enough to work with Carolyn Reidy for my entire career,” Weiner tweeted. “She was a trailblazer and a role model and a champion for me and so many other women. Most of all, she was a smart and passionate reader.”
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the publisher faced an uncertain future. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish put the publisher on the block, explaining to investors in March that “Simon & Schuster is not a core asset. It’s not video-based.”
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