Stephanie Sinclair to take over as publisher of McClelland & Stewart, Jared Bland moves to communications role in major shake-up at PRHC

Stephanie Sinclair takes the helm as publisher of M&S on October 3 (Photo: CookeMcDermid)

In a significant reorganization at Penguin Random House Canada imprint McClelland & Stewart, Jared Bland is stepping away from the role of publisher, which he has held for six years, to be replaced by Stephanie Sinclair. The surprise announcement came today via a press release from PRHC CEO Kristin Cochrane.

Bland, who has previously taken a leave of absence for health reasons, decided to move away from the role of publisher at M&S due to limitations in “his abilities to represent, advocate for, and cheer on M&S’s authors as part of the critical ‘front-of-house’ requirements of this position,” Cochrane writes. He will remain with the house in the newly created role of vice president, communications and community. Sinclair will assume the roles of publisher, McClelland & Stewart and Hazlitt, and vice president, PRHC, beginning October 3.

Sinclair has been a literary agent with the firm CookeMcDermid since 2020; for eight years prior to that, she was on staff at the Transatlantic Agency. During her time as an agent, she has worked with writers such as Griffin Poetry Prize winner Billy Ray Belcourt, Lamda Literary Award winner Joshua Whitehead, essayist Alicia Elliott, and novelists Fawn Parker and Anna Maxymiw. Publisher’s Marketplace currently ranks Sinclair the top Canadian agent for both fiction and nonfiction.

“She will begin her work here already possessing some deep author relationships, having represented nearly twenty M&S authors,” writes Cochrane. “Stephanie’s deep relationships, of course, extend beyond M&S to the rest of the company, as she has collaborated over the years with editors and publishers across our divisions, and worked closely with many of our colleagues in sales and marketing through the books she’s shared with all our imprints.”

Bland, meanwhile, will spearhead a new position that Cochrane says was created to “reframe” the publisher’s commitment to community outreach and to “underscore [the] importance” of this endeavour to the entire company. “Jared’s mandate will be to think broadly about what we mean by both communication and community – he will be centrally involved in the ongoing shaping of our company culture, our work in the broader community, our social responsibility commitments, and, critically, in determining how we share information about all of this with each other and externally,” Cochrane writes.

Effective immediately, Beth Lockley, formerly vice president of marketing and communications, will assume the role of vice president, marketing. In a press release, Robert Wheaton, chief strategy and operations officer at PRHC, framed this decision as Lockley’s own. She approached him earlier in the year to express interest in focusing solely on the marketing aspect of her job, Wheaton writes, while “setting aside her considerable brief on our company communications, so that she would have the bandwidth to further the ongoing transformation of our marketing and publicity work.”

The moves come during a period of ongoing uncertainty for the conglomerate, which still has plans to merge with multinational Simon & Schuster, pending regulatory approval in Canada and the results of a Department of Justice suit to halt the merger in the U.S.

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