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Simon & Schuster has hired away Penguin Canada publisher Nicole Winstanley to run its Canadian operations after months of staff upheaval that saw president Kevin Hanson leave last month.

Winstanley will begin the job of president and publisher in mid-April. She first joined Penguin Canada in 2006 and had been vice-president of parent company Penguin Random House Canada since 2015. At Penguin, she published acclaimed books including Sarah Polley’s Run Towards the Danger, Ashley Audrain’s The Push, Mona Awad’s Bunny, and The Maid, the international bestselling mystery book by Nita Prose.

Prose is the pen name of Nita Pronovost – the former Simon & Schuster Canada editor-in-chief and vice-president who left the publishing house last fall alongside two other executives, just months before Hanson’s exit.

Simon & Schuster Canada executive, author of bestseller The Maid, leaves amid major staffing changes

Winstanley will also join Simon & Schuster’s global executive committee. The publishing house, which launched its first Canadian publishing list just over a decade ago, did not make Winstanley available for an interview after announcing her appointment Wednesday. In an e-mailed statement, she said of her new employer: “I have been enormously impressed with their significant impact on the Canadian publishing landscape in a relatively short period of time.”

The publisher’s global chief executive, Jonathan Karp, said in a statement that Winstanley’s “reputation for excellence, her commitment to authors, and her keen editorial eye will help us become an even greater force throughout Canada and all of the territories in which we publish.”

Karp also praised his company’s broad group of Canadian staff, “who have achieved considerable success in their marketplace for both Canadian-originated titles and books from their fellow Simon & Schuster companies. We can look forward to seeing them build on that success under Nicole’s leadership.”

Hanson had been with Simon & Schuster for nearly two decades and was its first Canadian publisher. He had been actively involved in acquisitions in the days leading up to his exit.

Simon & Schuster Canada has also made significant hires in recent months. They include two new executive editors: former HarperCollins non-fiction editorial director Jim Gifford and Rosemary Shipton, the founding co-director of Toronto Metropolitan University’s publishing program. Jeremy Cammy, an Indigo Books and Music veteran, was hired as a vice-president in the same period.

The publisher’s parent company has spent recent years mired in uncertainty over its ownership, with private-equity firm KKR closing a US$1.62-billion acquisition of the publisher last October. Prior to that, a merger with its biggest rival, Penguin Random House, was blocked by a U.S. judge.

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