Pub­lisher Pear­son ap­points new chair­man to lead emerg­ing mar­ket strat­egy

The Malta Business Weekly - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pear­son, the Bri­tish pub­lisher that sold the Financial Times for £844m ear­lier this sum­mer, has ap­pointed a new chair­man as it steps up plans to fo­cus on dig­i­tal ser­vices and emerg­ing mar­kets.

Sid­ney Tau­rel, the former boss of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant Eli Lilly, will join Pear­son in Jan­uary, and re­places Glen Moreno, who had been in the role for more than a decade.

Pear­son has is­sued a string of profit warn­ings in the past cou­ple of years, and the FTSE 100 com­pany’s lat­est up­date last week caused its share price to tum­ble by as much as 16pc in the big­gest sin­gle-day fall since the 1980s.

Pear­son said sales fell by 2pc in the third quar­ter of the year and down­graded its ex­pec­ta­tions for full-year trad­ing, blam­ing “cycli­cal and pol­icy fac­tors be­yond its con­trol”.

The bear­ish up­date squashed hopes that the sale of the FT to Ja­panese me­dia group Nikkei, as well as of­fload­ing its 50pc stake in The Econ­o­mist for £469m, would mark a turn­ing point in the com­pany’s for­tunes.

A slew of bro­kers down­graded Pear­son, with an­a­lysts at Bar­clays ex­press­ing con­cern about the com­pany’s lack of vis­i­bil­ity when fore­cast­ing fu­ture trad­ing.

Pear­son is with­draw­ing from its pub­lish­ing op­er­a­tions to fo­cus on its core ed­u­ca­tion busi­ness, 60pc of which is in the US.

How­ever, its US divi­sion has de­liv­ered mixed re­sults in re­cent months. The Univer­sity of Florida re­cently an­nounced plans to ter­mi­nate an 11-year con­tract with Pear­son, say­ing it had failed to meet cer­tain per­for­mance goals.

Mr Tau­rel, 66, is ex­pected to bring ex­pe­ri­ence of deal­ing in global busi­ness mar­kets and tack­ling com­plex reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ments.

The Moroc­con-born busi­ness­man be­came a US cit­i­zen 20 years ago, and was a former ad­viser to Ge­orge W Bush for much of last decade. This was along­side his role as chief ex­ec­u­tive and chair­man of Eli Lilly.

Dur­ing his time at the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany, he worked in South Amer­ica, east­ern Europe and the UK, and he is flu­ent in French, Span­ish and Por­tuguese

“I am look­ing for­ward to help­ing the Pear­son man­age­ment team de­velop our strat­egy and de­liver long-term value for our stu­dents, cus­tomers and our share­hold­ers,” said Mr Tau­rel.

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