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HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman Abruptly Departs

Jane Friedman

Photo: Getty Images

Last night Gawker reported that HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman would be stepping down abruptly from the post she’s held for the past ten years. When the Observer called around to investigate, nobody knew what they were talking about at first — but the report turned out to be true. No one had yet been told. HarperCollins rushed out a press release. “My 10 years at HarperCollins have been far and away the most rewarding of my career and so it was not easy to make the decision to step down,” Friedman was quoted as saying. “I am extremely pleased to be succeeded by Brian Murray, an incredibly talented individual and executive, and a true lover of books.” Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. CEO and her top boss, called her “a terrific leader who succeeded in attracting some of the world’s most brilliant authors while, at the same time, delivering record breaking profits.” This morning Gawker trolls through Friedman’s recent history, including last quarter’s low profits and the well-publicized trouble between Friedman and former henchwoman Judith Regan. But nobody seems to yet know the cause for the abrupt departure. Friedman, 62, may have stepped down of her own accord, as indicated in her statement. We’ll wait and see. Meanwhile, it’s a perfect time for a walk down memory lane! Allow us to direct you to Vanessa Grigoriadis’s account in New York of the Regan-Friedman power struggle, which bears one of our favorite titles of all time: “Even Bitches Have Feelings.”

HarperCollins Chief Was Aggressive, Awkward [Gawker]
It’s Official: Jane Friedman Out at HarperCollins, Her Deputy Up ‘Effective Immediately’ [NYO]
Related: Even Bitches Have Feelings [NYM]
Update: A co-worker just pointed out to us that Gawker has gotten all the credit for “breaking” this story, when all they really did was put up a post at 7:10 saying they heard a “wild rumor” and asking for more info. It was actually the Observer that confirmed the story first. We credited Gawker originally, too. But now we’re not sure. Readers, what do you think? Does reporting a “wild” unconfirmed rumor that turns out to be true on a blog mean that you broke it?

HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman Abruptly Departs