Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Carol & Gary Johnson stepping down at Bethany House

Baker Publishing Group announces that Gary Johnson and Carol Johnson will be stepping aside from their respective roles as President and VP/Editorial, Fiction at Bethany House Publishers on February 29, 2008 after decades of productive leadership. They will continue on a part-time basis focusing on acquisitions and special projects.

Gary Johnson's first brush with the publishing world began in 1960 when he accepted the position of manager of the campus bookstore at Bethany College of Missions in Bloomington, Minnesota. The first day on the job, he discovered that his new role included oversight of the fledgling Bethany House Publishers, a modest operation with a backlist of six titles!

Seeing opportunities to expand the business, Johnson began acquiring practical self-help and deeper-life Christian books with growing market potential. Kingdom of the Cults by the late Walter Martin, The Christian Family by Larry Christenson, Telling Yourself the Truth by the late Dr. William Backus and the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke were all milestones in building the Bethany House brand.

Carol Johnson began editing part-time for the publishing house in the mid 60s and stepped into her full-time role as Editorial Director in 1979. She is best-known in the industry for developing Bethany's reputation of leadership and innovation in fiction and credited for birthing a new wave of Christian fiction in the late 70s.

Baker Publishing Group President Dwight Baker commented, "I am privileged to share the business of Christian book publishing with the Johnsons, first as a respectful competitor and since 2003 as a partner and colleague. Our interaction during these past five years has confirmed what many of us assumed of the Johnsons since our first observations: They are smart, professional, honest, and they display consistent personal integrity from every angle."

Jim Parrish has been named Executive VP and Director of Bethany House Publishers effective March 1, 2008. With a background in Christian retail, Parrish has worked in various management roles within the company since 1984, including most recently VP and Director of Administration.

Also on March 1, David Horton will become VP/Editorial, Fiction. Horton joined Bethany's editorial team in 1998 following stints at Tyndale House, Scripture Press, and Cook Communications. Horton currently serves as Editorial Director, Fiction.

Dwight Baker said of Parrish and Horton "We are delighted to promote Jim Parrish and David Horton to full leadership roles at Bethany. Both men have already demonstrated impressive abilities and experience. They have the support and respect from all of us as they face greater responsibilities. Bethany will certainly thrive under their leadership and in the tradition of its first 50 years of excellent publishing."

Bethany House Publishers is a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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