As we reported last month, Charlie Redmayne has reigned from his post as chief executive officer at Pottermore. Redmayne will be leaving J.K. Rowling’s company to head Harper Collins U.K.
Taking up the position in November 2011, Redmayne transformed Pottermore.com from potential failure to a pioneer in the publishing industry, as the exclusive place to purchase Harry Potter e-books and the only place to find new information on the world of Harry Potter from the author herself.
In the interim, current chief technology officer Julian Thomas will act in Redmayne’s position.
In honor of Redmayne’s leaving, we’re counting down his top five greatest achievements as c.e.o of the company…
1. Launch of the Pottermore Shop – For the first time Harry Potter e-books were available via the Pottermore Shop when it launched in March 2012. The launch was a landmark moment for not only Harry Potter fans, but also for the publishing industry; for the first time ever, major online booksellers like BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon agreed to direct their customers to the Pottermore Shop. The Pottermore Shop also marked the first time that an author set up their own exclusive shop to sell their books – leave it to Rowling to do so! About 1.5m dollars worth of e-books were sold in the first three months, which definitely sustains its top place on this list of the CEO’s greatest achievements.
2. Launch of Pottermore.com – After months and months of waiting and anticipation, Pottermore.com was launched quietly in April 2012, under the direction of Redmayne. Millions of fans flocked to the site to read new content from J.K. Rowling and to discover the Moments. Very few moments have been like that post-Deathly Hallows, and it was exciting to see the fandom in full swing once again.
3. Release of Sony Products, Wonderbook games (Book of Spells, Book of Potions) and Pottermore at PlayStation Home – Sony was a founding partner of Pottermore, and over the past year we’ve seen the release of three fantastic products – Book of Spells for Wonderbook for PlayStation 3, and its sequel Book of Potions, and also Pottermore at PlayStation Home. All three of them are groundbreaking innovations – both of the Wonderbook augmented-reality games are the first of its kind, and Pottermore on PlayStation Home is the closest MMORPG-like atmosphere for Harry Potter that fans can get. They have also been commercially successfully, with Book of Spells selling 1 million copies last Christmas.
4. Improvements to the Pottermore site – From the beginning, you could tell that Redmayne really wanted to take advantage of Pottermore and push it to its highest potential. The improvements took form in different ways, whether it was adding sounds or audiobook snippets to the site, making easier to comment or adding the user status bar for profiles, or most recently the major revamp of the site. Not all of them were a hit with fans, but you could tell Redmayne and the whole Pottermore team tried its hardest and continues to do so.
5. Marketing of the site – During Redmayne’s tenure as c.e.o., the marketing of the site has seen a great increase. We’ve seen ads all over the web (garnered this is due in part by the tracking of our research for this site), and even on television. Pottermore has done a great job advertising on fansites and keeping fans updated. They also partnered with Barnes and Noble, which hosted a Harry Potter party last year in stores. Redmayne personally stayed on top of his game, appearing at international book fairs and publishing conferences. All of these benefited the site and the visibility of the site’s offerings.
When we talked to him this past February, Charlie named the launch of the site and recruiting a “passionate, talented, and loyal team to deliver J.K. Rowling’s vision” as his greatest accomplishments. You can read our full exclusive interview with him right here.
We are sorry to see Charlie go but wish him all the best. He’s done a fantastic job as CEO and we’re sure he’ll do the same at HarperCollins U.K.
We will be sure to share with you once a permanent replacement is announced, so stick with us at Pottermore News for the latest.
Correction: A previous version of this post said that Redmayne started in October 2011. This was wrong, as he started in November of that year.