Sidney Taurel, Pearson
Sidney Taurel, Pearson

London-based international education group Pearson has announced that its chairman Sidney Taurel is to retire at a date no later than the 2022 annual general meeting.

Taurel said: “It’s long been my intention that, with a new chief executive firmly in place and with strong foundations from which Pearson can grow, I would plan to step down from the board. The nomination and governance committee will establish a process, led by the senior independent director, to identify and appoint my successor.

“Pearson has made good progress over the past few years in transforming to become a more focused, digital learning company. In Andy Bird we have a new chief executive with a clear and exciting vision for the future, supported by a refreshed board and a strengthened senior management team. The unveiling of our new strategy in March 2021 provides clarity regarding the future direction of the company and a platform from which we can deliver sustainable growth, creating value for all stakeholders. With good initial progress being made on the execution of this strategy I believe this year is the right time to conduct a search for a new chair for Pearson’s next chapter.”

Pearson also announced it has appointed Annette Thomas as an independent non-executive director, with effect from 1 October. Thomas will join the reputation and responsibility committee and the nomination and governance committee of the Pearson board.

Annette Thomas, Pearson
Annette Thomas, Pearson

Thomas has 25 years’ experience in global publishing and data analytics businesses, across academic, educational and consumer media sectors. Since March last year she has been chief executive of Guardian Media Group. Before that, she was chief executive of the Web of Science Group at Clarivate Analytics, a data, analytics and software business focused on research and higher education. She has also worked as chief executive for various operations of Macmillan Publishers, including Nature Publishing Group, Digital Science, Digital Education and, latterly, Macmillan Science & Education.

Her previous non-executive experience includes serving as a non-executive director at Clarivate Analytics (2017), and as a board member for Cambridge University Press and OCR, part of Cambridge Assessment (2019-2020). She also previously acted as an advisor to Creative Commons and Bain Capital. She is a trustee of Yale University.

Thomas began her career as an editor of the scientific journal Nature.

Taurel said: “Annette is a proven and highly impressive CEO and board member who has a great depth of relevant experience operating within the learning, digital and consumer media sectors. Her extensive data and analytics experience will be invaluable to Pearson as we aim to broaden our digital footprint and reach more consumers globally. Annette’s expertise and perspective adds further strength and depth to our board as we pursue exciting opportunities identified through our direct-to-consumer strategy.”

Thomas added: “I am relishing the opportunity to join the board at Pearson, particularly given my background in media, education and the broader world of learning. I am motivated by working for mission-driven organisations and I look forward to helping Pearson realise its purpose of enabling people to achieve their potential through learning.”

Date published: 23 April 2021

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