Carolyn Reidy, Simon & Schuster's CEO of 12 years, died of a heart attack Tuesday morning at the age of 71. In an email to all Simon & Schuster employees, Executive Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer Dennis Eulau shared the sad news. Reidy, who presided over her company with steady force and a passion for books during a time of frequent and traumatic change, was an "exemplary leader and a supremely talented and visionary publishing executive."
"Since joining Simon & Schuster in 1992 as President of the Trade Division, she has been a vital and energetic force within our company, leading us to unprecedented growth on both the domestic and international fronts, and steering us through the transition to publishing in the digital era," Dennis Eulau, the company's chief operating officer and chief financial officer announced. "As a publisher and a leader, Carolyn pushed us to stretch to do just that little bit more; to do our best and then some for our authors, in whose service she came to work each day with an unbridled and infectious enthusiasm and great humor."
Eulau praised her "fierce intelligence and curiosity" for moving forth their company, sharing how her "determination to know everything about a given subject if it could help us to be better, were matched by her complete and total accessibility" as a valued member of their family. "She wrote congratulatory notes to employees when they were promoted, and colleagues in every corner of our company always felt that they had a first-person relationship with her, and that they could reach out to her to discuss any subject and receive a thoughtful response in return," he said.
Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS — Simon & Schuster's parent company — also issued a heartfelt statement on Reidy's death. "Carolyn was a passionate, beloved leader who helped authors reach readers around the world and, in doing so, played a key role in making Simon & Schuster what it is today – one of the most successful and respected consumer publishing houses in the business," he wrote. "Over the course of almost 30 years at the company – and 12 as CEO – Carolyn nurtured relationships with important and popular writers, oversaw the publishing of numerous culture-shaping bestsellers and broadened Simon & Schuster's audience by pushing into new formats and international markets. Her impressive work drew many accolades, but above all, she will be remembered for being a fierce advocate for her employees and teams, a mentor to many, and the exemplar of leading with force, heart and humor."