After 22 years with education publisher John Wiley & Sons (JW.A) and 13 years as its chief executive officer, William Pesce announced that he will retire on April 30, 2011. He will be replaced next May by Stephen Smith, a veteran of the company and the current COO, a position he was promoted to in 2009. Pesce, who was appointed CEO in 1998, will also be nominated for a board set at Wiley's annual shareholders meeting next year.
During his time with Wiley, Pesce led the company through significant expansion of its higher education division and spearheaded record financial results. Sales and profits have been on the rise throughout the end of 2009's fiscal year and the beginning of 2010, with Wiley reporting first quarter sales of $408 million, a 5% increase from last year, and an 11% rise in operational income to $63 million compared to 12 months ago. Much of those jumps are directly attributed to "strong growth" in Wiley's higher education and professional/trade divisions, along with a doubling in digital sales for both those sectors.
In a statement, company chairman Peter Booth Wiley said that Pesce "thoughtfully guided Wiley through the most significant changes in its 203-year history, including consummating the company's largest acquisition; capitalizing on investments in enabling technology to serve customers better; and generating record financial results. [Pesce] has contributed enormously to Wiley's nurturing and supportive culture, which is a tremendous source of competitive advantage for the company."
As part of Wiley's Q1 earnings announcement earlier in the month, Pesce looked ahead to the company's outlook in 2011, reiterating their mid-single-digit revenue growth on a currency neutral basis. The company also continues to project earnings per share growth of approximately 10% from fiscal year 2010 adjusted EPS of $2.58, excluding the effect of foreign exchange and a deferred tax benefit from the UK.
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