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Changes Prepare the Review and Herald for the Future of Publishing
By Kim Peckham
The Review and Herald Publishing Association has announced a major reorganization and an almost entirely new management team to deal with years of flatlining sales and growing financial losses.
“We can’t continue like this,” said the institution’s new president, Mark Thomas, as he spoke to employees in the company’s chapel on Monday morning. He described a bleak financial picture that included projected financial losses of $2.4 million for the year.
Acting on the recommendation of the finance committee, the Review and Herald’s board directed a reduction in expenses that will affect 20 percent of the institution’s workforce. The reorganization includes, layoffs, salary cuts for some employees and job reassignments.
The association’s board also directed the sale of underutilized assets to wipe out corporate debts and raise capital for new initiatives. “These painful changes are necessary if we are going to effectively serve the church in a rapidly changing publishing environment,” said Thomas.
The first point in what Thomas called a “revitalization plan” is a division realignment. The current separation between a Book and a Periodical Division has caused duplication in staffing. “We have two advertising departments, two marketing departments, two copy editorial departments,” says Thomas, who plans to streamline the organization under an Editorial Division and a Marketing/Sales Division.
Changes include a move to digital workflows within the organization and the development of more digital products beyond the current titles that are available for the Amazon Kindle.
The direction of the Review and Herald is being set by a new team of officers. Graham Barham, the chief financial officer, comes from England where he helped turn around Stanborough Press, a sister publishing institution. John Gay, brings several decades of production experience to his position as vice president of Graphics. Also announced on Monday were names to fill the two vacant V.P. slots that have been open since April.
Dwight Hall was named as Marketing/Sales vice president. Hall is a successful businessman and a founder of Remnant Publications, a thriving publisher of Christian books.
Dwain Esmond was elected as the new vice president for the Editorial Division. A graduate of Oakwood University, he has his master’s in English from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. He began at the Review and Herald as an intern before becoming assistant editor of Message magazine. He then advanced to the head editorial position at the weekly youth magazine, Insight, where he served for eight years. He is the author of three devotional books, including Can You Hear Me Now?
Established in 1860, the Review and Herald is the oldest institution in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and is perhaps best known of publishing The Bible Story by “Uncle Arthur” and for printing the Adventist Review magazine.