HarperCollins Chief Digital Officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi: ‘Essential’ for Publishers to Take Risks

| | Digital Book World

Like most publishing companies, HarperCollins is trying to figure out how to survive and thrive in the new book industry landscape which is increasingly being altered by e-books and digital publishing.
Unlike most other publishers, HarperCollins is turning to publishing industry outsiders for leadership. Two of its c-level executives come from outside of the book publishing industry – its new chief marketing officer Angela Tribelli and its new chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi. As the publishing industry transitions to digital, these are arguably the two most important c-level positions outside of a publishing company’s CEO.
We recently spoke with Tribelli, who joined the company in February, about her outsiders’ perspective and her plans for marketing efforts at HarperCollins. The difficult decisions she will be making over the coming months and years won’t be informed by a career’s worth of experience in publishing but by a fresh perspective on book marketing problems.
Restivo-Alessi, who joined the company in May, has perhaps the more challenging assignment. With so many possibilities of where to take the large publisher digitally and so many potential pitfalls (the history of digital publishing is littered with bad investments), Restivo-Alessi has some tough decisions to make.
But she might just be equipped to make them. Restivo-Alessi has spent years as an investment banker covering the media industry and so has seen dozens of executives and companies rise and fall through digital transitions. She has also spent over a decade in the music industry and some time as a consultant, including some time doing work for HarperCollins three years ago.
Restivo-Alessi, 48, comes to HarperCollins most recently from the Dutch bank ING where she was a director of investment banking for media, a post she held for two years. Prior to her time at ING, she had a few stints working in branding, including as head of strategy and corporate development at Aegis Group, a large London-based media and digital communications firm.
She came to Aegis after a decade at EMI Music, one of the world’s largest music companies and home to artists such as The Beatles, Coldplay, Norah Jones and many more, eventually rising to the position of head of strategy and chief operating officer for one of the company’s units. Prior to EMI, she was an associate at consultancy Booz Allen & Hamilton for three years.
She has an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and an undergraduate degree from Alman Lisesi in Italy.
We spoke with Restivo-Alessi about her early impressions of the book publishing industry, what she intends to do with digital at HarperCollins and why it’s essential that publishers continue to take risks.
To read the interview link here.