Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy dies of heart attack at 71

Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy died of a heart attack Tuesday morning. She was 71.

Her death was announced by Dennis Eulau, the company’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

“Carolyn was both an exemplary leader and a supremely talented and visionary publishing executive,” Eulau said in a statement about Reidy, who joined Simon & Schuster in 1992 and had served as CEO since 2008. “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.”

Simon & Schuster is one of the publishing industry’s so-called “Big Five” New York based companies, with authors including Stephen King, Bob Woodward and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Reidy, known for her direct and down-to-earth style, had presided during times of frequent change and upheaval, whether the rise of e-books, the financial crisis of 2008 or the current coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said the publisher was up for sale, telling an investor conference, “Simon & Schuster is not a core asset. It’s not video based.”

In 2017, she was named the industry’s Person of the Year by the trade publication Publisher Weekly, which cited her leadership “through the Great Recession, publishing’s digital disruption, and a slow-growth sales environment all while keeping Simon & Schuster a commercial and critical success.”

She was an undergraduate at Middlebury College, and received a master’s degree and a doctorate in English from Indiana University.

Reidy had worked in publishing for much of her adult life, starting in 1974 in the subsidiary rights division of Random House. Before coming to Simon & Schuster, she was president and publisher of Avon Books.

Reidy’s death comes three months after the passing of one of Simon & Schuster’s most celebrated editors, Alice Mayhew, and less than four months after the death of longtime Simon & Schuster author Mary Higgins Clark.

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