April 12, 2011
Michael Hyatt Steps Down as Thomas Nelson CEO
Thomas Nelson has announced that Michael Hyatt has stepped down as CEO but will continue to serve as chairman of the board. Mark Schoenwald, who is president and COO, will take Hyatt's place as CEO.
Before he joined the publishing company in 2005, Schoenwald has served as as president of home décor, garden, and gift companies including New Creative Enterprises, One Coast Network, and Kennedy Group, according to Publisher's Weekly. Hyatt wrote on his blog that he plans to spend more time in other areas.
The reason for this transition is that I want to spend more time externally focused: writing, speaking, and pursuing other business interests. This is not a big surprise to my family or closest friends—perhaps not even to you. I love the creative life, and I was finding it increasingly difficult to give expression to my gifts while running a company the size of Thomas Nelson.
I feel that this is the perfect time to make this transition. We finished our fiscal year on March 31st with very strong momentum. We currently have several books on the bestseller lists, including Heaven Is for Real, which has been #1 on the New York Times list for 10 straight weeks. The company is healthy, vibrant, and poised for growth. We have a talented and proven successor in Mark, who can lead the company forward.
Heaven is For Real is about a boy who says he died and went to heaven, a book that has sold quite well for Thomas Nelson. In 2008, the company cut about 10 percent of its workforce. Last year, the private equity firm Kolberg & Co. led a group of investors to acquire a majority stake in the company.