Thursday 6th October – guest speaker Derek Freeman


Date(s) - 06/10/2016
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Bonnier – past, present and future

Derek Freeman is the Executive Chairman of Bonnier Publishing

Derek Freeman started his book publishing career in the mid 1970’s with Paul Hamlyn’s then tiny Octopus Books as production manager. Octopus grew rapidly and with that growth he became production director then general manager. Octopus went on to acquire the Heinemann Group becoming a major educational and trade publisher. The company became a PLC and Derek Freeman became a main board director responsible for the illustrated businesses. Octopus sold to Reed International which in turn merged with Elsevier. During that period Derek Freeman became Group Production Director of the book division and then moved to be responsible for the Adult Illustrated companies, Reed Australia and New Zealand, Reed Distribution Services and Mandarin Offset in Hong Kong.

Reed Elsevier took a strategic decision to divest all its consumer publishing interests and as a result Derek Freeman led a successful management buyout to acquire the Hamlyn,Octopus, Mithchell Beazley, George Philips, Conran Octopus, Bounty Books and Brimax companies to form the Octopus Publishing Group (OPG) in 1998. OPG sold to Hachette in 2001 and Derek Freeman stayed on until 2005 as CEO.

In 2006 Derek Freeman set up a publishing consultancy business and amongst a number of clients did some work for Bonnier. He became a Board observer of Bonnier Publishing (BPL) in 2007 and was subsequently invited to join the board. His primary focus was to create and build an English language group for Bonnier AB. Richard Johnson was appointed CEO in 2009 and Derek Freeman became Executive Chairman.

BPL has grown to become one of the UK’s largest children’s publishers, managed a number of successful start ups both in the UK and the USA and now has sales in excess of £100m. BPL has acquired in the past 12 years, Autumn Publishing, Piccolia in France, Weldon Owen in the USA and Australia, Five Mile Press in Australia, Templar, Piccadilly Press, Igloo Books, Elcy in France and John Blake Publishing. Start ups include Hot Key Books, Bonnier Fiction, Blink, Studio Books, Little Bee in the USA.

The Group are poised for further expansion making it an exciting environment to be part of.





Bookings are closed for this event.

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