People: Changes at the top for £50m publisher; Big hire for the bigword; and more

Emerald Publishing, the £50m+ turnover publishing business which employs around 250 staff in Bingley and 400 worldwide, has appointed Vicky Williams as CEO.

Richard Bevan, who has been CEO since 2010, will take on the additional role of executive chairman of Emerald Group, with its founder, Dr Keith Howard, stepping down as chairman after 50 years. Dr Howard will remain a member of the Emerald Group board.

Williams has held a variety of senior roles at Emerald in her 18 years at the group, including head of publishing development, director of business and development and, most recently, director of people (HR) and CEO of Emerald’s creative agency business, Research Media.

Bevan said: “Vicky is the ideal person to lead and further inspire our scholarly publishing business.

“Sharp-minded, curious, determined, steeped in the academic publishing market and with a great talent for leadership, Vicky has excelled in all the roles she has held at Emerald, and was the obvious choice when it came to choosing the right candidate for this critical appointment.”

Williams added: “I’m extremely honoured to have the opportunity to lead a business packed full of talented and passionate people that put the needs of our communities of authors, editors, librarians, research officers, institutions and their students at the heart of everything we do.

“With this ethos and a changing academic publishing landscape in mind, we look forward to further collaborating with our communities to tackle pressing issues, such as impact, open access, big data, and research funding.

“Equally, we will continue to champion – as evidenced by our recently launched Real World Impact initiative – quality management and social sciences research that can be brought to life in applied real world settings, and to nurture fresh thinking in those subject areas.”


Zia Mir and Clare Riches, senior vice president commercial development

Leeds-based language services provider thebigword has appointed one of the best-connected networkers in the Middle East to spearhead the growth of its defence and international security division.

Zia Mir joins as business development director and will use his longstanding experience and contacts within the region to advise the group on sales opportunities.

He previously held business development roles at SAI Global, a risk management business, and IHS Global, for its Jane’s defence and security information services.

Mir said: “Due to the rapid expansion with projects such as Expo 2020 in Dubai and Qatar’s plans for the World Cup, the foreign presence in the Middle East is significant and increasing.

“Businesses from Europe and the Americas are working and investing in the region.

“The desire of the collective leaderships of the different countries in the Middle East is to create a better and more cohesive society.

“They want to build new Smart City developments with the latest technology.

“We aim to be the leading language services provider to governments, businesses and contractors to help drive this social, economic and technological transformation.

“As the region continues to transform we look to work with military, government and local security industry in the development of language solutions that address the Middle East’s security challenges.”

Larry Gould, founder and chief executive of thebigword, said: “We are delighted to welcome Zia to thebigword and believe that his experience of the Middle East will be a great asset for our group.

“He has a deep cultural understanding of the area and extensive knowledge of our potential customer base. Zia has great contacts and is an excellent networker.”

The defence division had sales of £8m last year and provides face-to-face interpreting, telephone interpreting, written translation, cultural advice and language training.

The division has 150 interpreters deployed in UK, Germany, Ukraine, Iraq, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and northern Africa.