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Kareem Daniel Resurfaces On Simon & Schuster Board, With Former TikTok COO V Pappas

Simon & Schuster, which Paramount Global recently sold to investment giant KKR, has set a new board that include former top Disney exec Kareem Daniel and former TikTok COO V Pappas “as “it embarks on its journey as an independent standalone publisher,” said CEO Jonathan Karp.

Veteran publishing executive and investor Richard Sarnoff, chairman of media within KKR’s Americas private equity business, will serve as board chairman. Other directors include KKR executives Ted Oberwager and Chresten Knaff, and Madeline McIntosh, the former CEO of Penguin Random House U.S.

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Daniel was exited from Disney after 18 years at the media giant along with his mentor at the company, former CEO Bob Chapek. He headed an unpopular Chapek-created division called Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution that was Bob Iger dismantled when he returned to the company in November of last year. Daniel, who had previously served at Disney’s consumer products, games and publishing divisions, “was responsible for the growth and profitability of Disney’s portfolio of media businesses globally, including filmed entertainment, television networks, and streaming platforms,” said the Simon & Schuster announcement. His “accomplishments in bringing the Disney brand to life will significantly benefit Simon & Schuster’s strategic approach to unlocking the potential of Intellectual Property and helping authors reach audiences in new and international markets.”

Daniel also serves on the Board of McDonald’s.

Pappas stepped down as COO of TikTok in June, having previously held roles including Global interim head and general manager for North America, Australia, and New Zealand. She stepped up to lead the company after the departure of Kevin Mayer — the former Disney exec who took the top job at TikTok in 2020. Pappas oversaw the growth of the platform to over 1 billion users in over 170 countries and the emergence of the #BookTok phenomenon.

Pappas previously served as the Global Head of Creative Insights at YouTube, helping develop the YouTube Creator Playbook, a tool for audience development at on the platform, which reached more than 20 million creators and has expanded into its own division.

Sarnoff has served as a senior executive and supervisory board member at Bertelsmann, where he held leadership roles both at Random House and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. He is former chairman of the Association of American Publishers.

Oberwager leads the gaming, entertainment, media, and sports verticals within KKR’s Americas private equity and site on the boards of Skydance Media, AppLovin, OverDrive and PlayOn! Sports. Knaff is a director at KKR and member of its media and software industry teams. The duo leads KKR publishing, media and tech investments.

Paramount Global, which has been shedding assets to raise cash and focus on its media and streaming, closed the $1.6 billion sale of Simon & Schuster to KKR in October. A previous attempt to sell it to Bertelsmann fell through after regulatory challenges. The publisher did not have its own board of directors under Paramount.

“The formation of this Board marks an exciting new chapter in Simon & Schuster’s story,” said Karp. “We are thrilled to have such a dynamic and highly qualified team guiding us forward. Their collective experience in digital innovation, global business strategy, and deep understanding of the publishing ecosystem will be instrumental in our growth and success as an independent publisher.”

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