Wiley CEO Brian Napack leaves

  • After about six years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Napack
  • Matt Kissner taking over temporarily

(exechange) — Hoboken, New Jersey, October 10, 2023 — This news came shortly after Columbus Day. Brian Napack, chief executive of Wiley, leaves his position. As announced by John Wiley & Sons Inc. in a news release on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, Brian A. Napack leaves his post as chief executive officer at the publishing company, after about six years in the role, effective immediately.

Generally speaking, it raises questions when a CEO leaves his post abruptly.

Brian Napack’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Matthew S. (Matt) Kissner, a former Group Executive and Board Chair at John Wiley & Sons Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

“Rightsizing and streamlining the Company”

Wiley did not give an explicit reason for Brian Napack’s departure from the CEO post. Wiley stated: “In June, Mr. Napack and Wiley’s executive leadership announced a value creation plan that includes intensifying focus on Wiley’s strongest and most profitable businesses, divesting non-core assets, and rightsizing and streamlining the Company. Mr. Kissner will leverage his in-depth knowledge of Wiley’s operations and his professional experience to execute this plan and ensure a smooth transition. As previously disclosed, Fiscal 2024 is a transition year for the Company with the benefits of the value creation plan expected to be realized in fiscal year 2025 and 2026.”

Precise information regarding Brian Napack’s future plans was not immediately available.


Wiley said: “Wiley (NYSE: WLY and WLYB), a global knowledge company and a leader in research, publishing, and knowledge solutions announced today the departure of Brian Napack as President and Chief Executive Officer and the appointment of Matthew Kissner as Interim CEO, effective immediately.”

Share price decline since December 2017

The announcement follows a decline in John Wiley & Sons Inc.’s share price of 41% since December 2017. December 2017 is the month in which Napack’s tenure as CEO began.

In the position of CEO since 2017

Brian Napack became CEO of the Company in 2017.

Napack has served as the President and CEO of Wiley, a global leader in research and education and one of the world’s leading publishers.

He is the 14th president in Wiley’s 216-year history.

Prior to joining Wiley in 2017, Napack was a senior advisor at Providence Equity Partners, a leading investor in media, education, information, and communication.

He also served as President of Macmillan where he oversaw multiple businesses including education, digital media, consumer books, and magazines.

Prior to Macmillan, he was a partner at L.E.K. Consulting, a global management consulting firm, leading its Media and Entertainment and Publishing and Education practices.

He also founded and was CEO of ThinkBox, an education software company focused on early childhood. Earlier in his career while with The Walt Disney Company, Napack founded Disney Educational Publishing and co-founded Disney Interactive.

Prior to Disney, he held senior roles at Simon & Schuster and A.T. Kearney.

A staunch advocate for free speech and a defender of the critical role publishers play in a democratic society, Napack currently serves as an officer in the position of Vice Chair for the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

He has been a director since 2017 and an officer since 2019, including serving as Chair of the Board from September 2020 to January 2022.

The AAP represents the leading book, journal, and education publishers in the U.S. and advocates for policies and practices that defend and advance freedom of speech, intellectual property rights, and free and fair markets.

Napack also serves on the board of the Business Higher Education Forum after recently serving as Chairman.

BHEF is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to bridging the talent gap by building data-driven pathways that use education to connect talent to jobs.

Previously, he served as a member of the boards of Zero to Three, Blackboard Inc., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Burning Glass, Ascend Learning, Recorded Books, Ingram Industries, myON, Education Management Corporation, and Synergis Education.

No statement by Brian Napack

In the release announcing his departure as CEO of John Wiley & Sons Inc., Brian Napack received praise and thanks.

The announcement of his departure as CEO does not include a statement by Brian Napack.

Push-out Score for Brian Napack’s move determined

The Push-out Score indicates on a scale of 0 to 10 how likely it is that Brian Napack was pushed out or felt pressure to leave his position.

exechange reached out to Wiley and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 42.2023 ($).