Pearson appoints Walt Disney exec Bird as new CEO


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LONDON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Global education publisher Pearson PSON.L has appointed Andy Bird, a media veteran who ran the international arm of The Walt Disney Company, as its new chief executive to see it through the latest bout of turbulence to hit the company.

Pearson said Bird was due to start the new job on October 19, with current boss John Fallon remaining in the role until that date. He will then step down from the board and remain as an advisor until the end of the year.

The British company, the world's biggest education publisher, has cut thousands of jobs and restructured over recent years to sell textbooks and courseware online, after a rapid move to digital sales sparked repeated profit warnings.

Earlier this year it became one of the few big companies to retain its dividend payout to shareholders, as the COVID-19 pandemic helped to accelerate the shift to digital learning as schools and colleges shut.

Bird is currently a non-executive director at Pearson and was appointed to the board on May 1.

"Because of (Bird's) experience and skills, he is extremely well placed to continue the transformation of Pearson, leading it to a new era of growth and enhancing value for all our shareholders," Chairman Sidney Taurel said.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Sarah Young)

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