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Headhunter hired to replace Lisa Lucas of the National Book Awards


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Headhunter hired to replace Lisa Lucas of the National Book Awards 1

The National Book Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind the National Book Awards, has tapped Koya Partners to handle the search to replace its executive director, Lisa Lucas.

The search process is expected to take three months.

Lucas, who announced plans to step down at the end of the year in July, will continue to serve on the foundation’s board of directors, she said Thursday. Her deputy director, Jordan Smith, has agreed to step in as the interim executive director.

Lucas, who has held the executive director role since 2016, is heading to Penguin Random House as senior VP and publisher of the Pantheon and Schocken imprints.

“We asked Jordan and she very graciously agreed to step in,” said Arcadia Publishing CEO David Steinberger, who serves as chairman of the National Book Foundation.

Koya was chosen because it “specializes in mission driven searches, typically in the nonprofit world,” he said.

The foundation was originally formed to hand out the annual National Book Awards. But Steinberger noted that Lucas has expanded it in recent years, including with the launch of the Book Rich Environment program, which has distributed 1.5 million books over the past three years to low-income communities.

As for the search, Steinberger said, “We’ve started the interview process. We’re more interested in finding the right person than filling it quickly, but I’d think in about three months is the right timetable,” he said.

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