Former corporate affairs chief John Fallon named Pearson CEO

FTSE 100 education and publishing firm Pearson has announced that Dame Marjorie Scardino is to step down as chief executive, to be replaced by former corporate affairs professional John Fallon.

John Fallon: Former Pearson comms head takes CEO role
John Fallon: Former Pearson comms head takes CEO role

Fallon was most recently head of Pearson’s international education division, but joined the firm in 1997 as director of comms and corporate before expanding his role in 2001. He is also a former head of the group in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Before joining Pearson, Fallon was director of corporate affairs at Powergen and has also held public policy and comms roles in local government and politics, including a stint as policy and media adviser to former deputy PM John Prescott.

Fallon becomes one of the first corporate affairs professionals to have risen to take executive control of large listed businesses.

Research from recruitment consultancy Robert Half found this year that more than half of FTSE 100 bosses had a financial background, with others emerging from engineering/mining (14), retail/hospitality management (10), marketing (six) and IT (four).

Scardino is stepping down after 16 years at the helm of the owner of the Financial Times and publisher Penguin. She is currently one of four female CEOs of FTSE 100 companies.

Scardino said: ‘Though we’ve changed the company beyond recognition from its form in 1997, we are still in the foothills of the climb to make all kinds of learning more accessible and more effective for more people.

‘I know that John, the board, the senior team and our 40,000 people have the bravery, imagination and decency to lead the company to new ways of achieving these goals, while holding on to the traditions and values that make Pearson unique.’

Fallon commented: ‘Marjorie’s legacy is a company with a strong performance record, a deep commitment to its wider social purpose and a unique culture.

‘Pearson has a clear position of leadership in global learning and publishing, with strong foundations for growth in technology, services and developing economies. Our challenge is to seize those opportunities in an era of tremendous industry change.’

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