Riley, Bennie to set up own agencies following Ebury restructure

News - Publishing Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Longstanding Ebury marketing and publicity directors to leave at the end of the month


Longstanding Ebury colleagues Diana Riley, marketing director, and Sarah Bennie, director of publicity and media relations, are stepping down after 18 years at the publisher to set up, respectively, a marketing and a PR consultancy.

The moves follow the decision to appoint a new creative and communications director at the Penguin Random House division, and the creation of a "hub-based" team structure (BookBrunch story). Bennie will continue to deliver publicity campaigns for many lead Ebury books and authors, and Ebury is also in discussions with Riley about future projects.

Bennie has worked on campaigns for authors including Yotam Ottolenghi, Hemsley + Hemsley, the River Cafe, Chris Packham, Annabel Karmel, Sheryl Sandberg, Brene Brown, Prof Steve Peters, and Harry Redknapp. Riley has led marketing strategy for the publisher across non-fiction and fiction, orchestrating global campaigns for authors including Ottolenghi, Caitlin Moran, Billy Connolly, Andy Weir, Marie Kondo, Richard Branson, Dan & Phil, Mary Berry, Rick Stein and Delia Smith. Bennie and Riley were also involved in the launches of the WH Allen and Ebury Fiction imprints, the Books Are My Bag initiative, and the global launch for the Together cookbook by the Hubb Community Kitchen, backed by HRH Duchess of Sussex.

Ebury MD Joel Rickett said: "Both Sarah and Di have played an important part in Ebury's evolution and success - since they joined, Ebury has more doubled in size and been crowned the UK's #1 non-fiction publisher. Many of our defining moments have been shaped by Sarah and Di, and they have personally led countless bestseller campaigns. They are passionate champions for our books, and have catalysed the careers of many publicists and marketers. So I am delighted that we are going to continue to benefit from their talents in a freelance capacity."

Bennie said: "After working with an exceptional team, and overseeing campaigns for nearly 300 books a year, I've decided to focus my time starting my own PR business promoting the authors and books I love in the areas I'm passionate about. I'm excited about this new venture and will be specialising in memoirs, lifestyle, food, healthy living and personal development. With new leadership at Ebury this seems the perfect time to leave with their blessing and begin this new venture, while continuing to work as a consultant and freelancer for Ebury.

"Di and I are great friends and colleagues; we have been proud to be part of the team that drove Ebury's growth, and we expect to see its continued success in the years to come. I look forward to working with Ebury and PRH in my new capacity and hopefully creating more bestsellers along the way."

Riley said: "It has been a privilege leading the marketing strategy at Ebury for nearly two decades. Publishing and marketing have undergone seismic change which has presented challenges but also offered opportunities to engage with audiences in innovative, creative ways. I feel proud to have led a team of exceptionally skilled marketers and ensured that Ebury has kept ahead of the curve, championing new ways of utilising technologies, consumer data, social media, audio, creative design and immersive events to reach the widest possible audiences. This has helped establish Ebury as the gold standard for non-fiction, and since I joined the business it has doubled in size, becoming the UK's leading non-fiction publisher and market leader in food and drink and parenting.

"I have had the most fantastic time at Ebury and been lucky enough to work with many talented colleagues and a huge number of inspiring authors, from whom I have learnt so much. However, there are projects and ideas I have had on the backburner, so with change of leadership I'm looking forward to setting up a freelance marketing business and collaborating with Sarah to craft a unique offering for authors and brands."

Bennie and Riley will be at Ebury until the end of June. They may be contacted at Sarah@sarahbennie.com and Diana@dianarileymarketing.com.

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