John Ridding to lead Pearson's FT Group amid sale speculation

Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:20pm EST

(Reuters) - John Ridding has been appointed chief executive officer of the Financial Times Group, parent of the FT newspaper, succeeding Rona Fairhead who is leaving the company.

Ridding is currently the CEO of the FT newspaper and will step into his new role effective January 1.

The announcement was made in a staff memo sent by John Fallon, the incoming chief executive of Pearson Plc, the company that publishes the pink-hued newspaper.

Speculation has been swirling that Pearson, known largely for its education business, is looking to exit the newspaper industry - in part because Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino is leaving the company.

Scardino famously said that FT would be sold "over my dead body." In October, she announced that she is stepping down from her role as CEO. [ID:nL6E8L31HG]

Pearson also announced in October it was to merge its Penguin Books unit with Bertelsmann's Random House to create the world's leading consumer book publisher.

Fairhead is departing the FT Group after losing out to Fallon who got the top job at Pearson.

Ridding has been CEO of the FT since 2006 and has been with the newspaper for 20 years.

(Reporting By Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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