He will be responsible for the business operations, financial performance and strategic development of the group taking over from Michael Lynton who leaves to join America Online.
Wan will report to Marjorie Scardino, chief executive at Pearson, Penguin’s parent company.
She said: ‘We are confident that the Penguin group, led by David and his colleagues, is in great shape to build on its recent success and to be imaginative about how to invent the book business of the future.’
Wan was equally optimistic promising to build on the publishing house’s stable of authors and expand the brand.
Wan will have to work closely with the chief executives of Penguin’s three operating companies Phyllis Grann, of Penguin Putnam, Anthony Forbes Watson, of Penguin UK, and Peter Field of Penguin Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.
Wan has been with Penguin since 1998 when he left Simon & Schuster, where he was president of the company’s school publishing business, to become chief financial officer.
In the six months to June 30, 1999, it increased sales by 13% to £263m and operating profits doubled to £31m.
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