It seems Houghton's publisher has gone and resigned! This just in from the New York Times' ever-reliable Motoko Rich:
In a sign of further setbacks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which represents authors like Philip Roth, Jonathan Safran Foer and Günter Grass, the publisher of the company’s adult trade division has resigned.
The publisher, Becky Saletan, who took the job in January, will leave the company Dec. 10.
Last week, the publisher temporarily stopped acquiring new books as its parent company, Education Media and Publishing Group, an Irish private equity concern, said it was not allocating as much capital to the consumer book business.
Josef Blumenfeld, a spokesman for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, confirmed that Ms. Saletan had resigned. Ms. Saletan did not return calls or an e-mail message, and Jeremy Dickens, president of Education Media, did not return calls. The news of Ms. Saletan’s resignation was first reported by The Associated Press.
Literary agents who knew Ms. Saletan were upset by the news of her departure. “I think that Becky is a woman of extraordinary integrity and had quickly become a terrific publisher,” said David Black, whose clients published by Houghton include the cookbook author Dorie Greenspan and the sports columnist Ian O’Connor. “It’s a significant loss.”
Ms. Saletan became publisher earlier this year after the merger of Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt, edging out Janet Silver, who had been at Houghton Mifflin for 24 years.
Houghton Mifflin, based in Boston, was acquired in 2006 by Riverdeep, an Irish software company backed by what is now Education Media. The next year the company bought Harcourt, an educational publisher.
In an interview last week, Mr. Dickens of Education Media said Houghton had about $7 billion in debt and that other publishers had expressed interest in it.