'Fifty Shades' publisher Anne Messitte is leaving company

NEW YORK — The publisher who helped make E L James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” a phenomenon is leaving the company.

Anne Messitte, longtime head of the Vintage and Anchor paperback imprints, will depart next month. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group announced the news Wednesday. No reason was provided for her departure.

Vintage and Anchor are two of the premier paperback lines, with authors ranging from Margaret Atwood to Robert Caro.

Messitte is widely credited with spotting the potential of James’ explicit fiction, acquiring the “Fifty Shades” trilogy when it was just catching on as a digital release. The books have since sold more than 100 million copies.

Messitte will be succeeded by Suzanne Herz, who will continue in her current job as Doubleday’s executive vice-president and executive director of publishing.

The Associated Press