Berrett-Koehler Publishers Announces New Leadership


Posted by The Berrett-Koehler Team - 19 February, 2019

Today, Berrett-Koehler Publishers announced that its Board of Directors has selected David Marshall to be CEO and CFO and Johanna Vondeling to be President and Publisher. Mr. Marshall is currently the VP of Editorial and Digital and Ms. Vondeling is currently the VP of International Sales and Business Development for Berrett-Koehler.

This collaborative leadership appointment is effective May 1, 2019, and follows founder Steve Piersanti’s decision to step down after 27 years as President, CEO, and Publisher of the company. Mr. Piersanti will lead the transition process and then remain in the editorial department as a full-time acquisitions editor. He leaves a mighty legacy of success in his wake. BK is one of the most innovative and admired independent publishers, has won many awards (including being named the 2015 Indie Publisher of the Year by Foreword Magazine), has been consistently profitable even during economic downturns without resorting to layoffs, and is the first book publishing company in the world to be both a Certified B Corp and a Benefit Corporation.

“I am thrilled that David and Johanna will steward BK forward in these new leadership roles,” says Mr. Piersanti. “They are a dream team because of their 11 years of experience working together at BK, extensive connections with BK stakeholder groups, deep commitment to BK’s mission and values, and marvelous, complimentary talents.  This transition is not easy for me, after many years leading BK, but I am confident that David and Johanna will provide the leadership needed to take BK to new heights, and I’ll be able to focus my full attention on the editorial work that I do best.”

Mr. Marshall will provide overall executive and financial leadership for BK and will also oversee its promising new online training business. Ms. Vondeling will oversee the editorial, design and production, sales and marketing, and other areas of its book publishing.  They will work in tandem on company strategy, vision, and interacting with the many BK communities and stakeholders. 

“BK is pioneering the way for a new paradigm of business in the 21st Century,” says Mr. Marshall. “BK is breaking new ground by publishing leading-edge books that encourage workplace renewal, as well as incubating those ideas and practices within its own culture.  It has been a tremendous honor serving BK over the past eleven years, and now, to lead the company as we preserve and extend our founder’s legacy, is a dream come true.”

“I deeply cherish BK and its mission to connect people and ideas to create a world that works for all,” says Ms. Vondeling. “I’m a raving fan of BK’s persistent commitment to transparency, collaborative decision-making practices, and the stakeholder model. It is an honor to lead an organization that’s committed to serving the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, authors, readers, service providers, suppliers, and sales partners as well as shareholders.”

The Board of Directors’ decision to select two internal candidates for a collaborative leadership model followed a rigorous search process. This process was led by a hiring team (composed of the Board Chair, CEO, an employee representative, and an author representative) that considered two dozen external candidates along with internal candidates and provided to the board extensive assessments of the leading candidates.  The board then did its own further intensive evaluations. 

“After a thorough and thoughtful search, the Board of Directors selected David Marshall and Johanna Vondeling to lead the company,” explains Board Chairman, Praveen Madan. “The Board concluded that this collaborative leadership model would be most suitable as BK transitions from being led by its founder to the next stages of its growth as a leading independent publisher.”

About Berrett-Koehler Leadership

David-Marshall_Berrett-Koehler-Publishers_smDavid Marshall is Vice President of Editorial and Digital at Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. Berrett-Koehler's digital publishing program includes e-books, rich-media enhanced e-books, audiobooks, self-assessments, online training summits and courses, animations, and video products. He is a software industry veteran, specializing in marketing and business development. David received his BA from San Francisco State University in International Relations and German Literature, as well as an MBA from Harvard University.  He and his wife Kate are best-selling co-authors of prompted journals that foster family communication including The Book of Myself, The Book of Us, and What I Love About You (almost one million copies sold).

Vondeling HeadshotJohanna Vondeling is Vice President for International Sales and Business Development at Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. She previously served as Vice President for Editorial and Digital, after joining the company in 2004. Before that, she worked for Jossey-Bass (a Wiley imprint), W.W. Norton, and Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. She received her BA from Yale University and her PhD in literature from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves as Vice President of Bay Area Women in Publishing, where she chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. At Heyday Books, she serves on the board as Vice Chair and chairs the Governance Committee.

Steve-Piersanti-021385-editedSteven Piersanti is CEO, President, and Publisher of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. Prior to founding Berrett-Koehler in 1992, Steve served as CEO and President of Jossey-Bass Publishers.  He began his career at Jossey-Bass in 1977 as an advertising copywriter then served as marketing director, editor, editorial director, and executive vice president before becoming president in 1989.  Steve graduated with Highest Honors from Brigham Young University, where he got his start in publishing by founding and editing a university student scholarly journal.

About Berrett-Koehler Board Chairman

PraveenPraveen Madan is a nationally recognized leader in reinventing bookselling and building literary communities. As CEO of Kepler’s Books since 2012, Praveen has been leading a community-sponsored initiative to transform Kepler’s into a new sustainable model bookstore of the future. Praveen is also co-owner of Booksmith in San Francisco, co-founder of Berkeley Arts & Letters, and Chair of the Board of Directors at Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Praveen’s work in publishing and bookselling has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Washington Post, USA Today, and many other leading publications. 

About Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Berrett-Koehler Publishers (“BK”) is an award-winning and innovative independent publishing company.  Founded in 1992, BK is headquartered in Oakland, California, and was recently named the independent publishing company of the year and has been continuously profitable for 16 years in a row.  Our books, audios, and videos are sold all over the world and we also host online summits and offer online training resources.  We are dedicated to an ambitious mission: Connecting People and Ideas to Create a World That Works for All. BK is a Certified B Corp and a California Benefit Corp.

Topics: Leadership, Berrett-Koehler

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