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Deseret Book Co. announces new president

More than 20 years after she was hired on a part-time basis, Laurel Christensen Day will become the company’s president

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Laurel Christensen Day has been named president of Deseret Book Co.

Deseret Book

Deseret Management Corp. announced a leadership change at Deseret Book Co. Thursday.

Laurel Christensen Day will be the new president of Deseret Book Co., replacing Jeff Simpson, who is leaving in June to serve a three-year ecclesiastical assignment for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We were fortunate enough to have several strong internal and external candidates available to us,” Keith McMullin, CEO of Deseret Management Corp., said in a statement. “Laurel has a dynamic combination of natural leadership, creative experience and institutional knowledge that will serve Deseret Book well and makes her the right person at the right time.”

In her 23 years at Deseret Book, Day, who started as a part-time event specialist, has helped reinvent and grow several areas of the company, including music and entertainment and the highly successful Time Out for Women events division, according to the release.

Day, who holds a master’s degree in communications management from Webster University, was named vice president of product and publishing in 2012, where she worked closely with Sheri Dew, who was then serving as president and CEO.

In 2018, Day was promoted to senior vice president of product and consumer experience, where again she worked closely with Dew and Simpson as Deseret Book innovated its product lines with an expanded focus on lifestyle and digital products.

As part of her role over consumer experience, Day improved Deseret Book’s retail experience and supervised the 2019 remodeling of the company’s flagship store at City Creek. She has also championed the brand’s commitment to relevancy for its customers.

“Laurel has a unique ability to understand consumers, unleash a team’s creativity and execute at a very high level,” Dew said in a statement. “Her history with our content creators and desire to expand the voices we share will be an important part of the next phase of this organization.” 

The change in Deseret Book’s leadership comes a day after Robin Ritch was named president of the Deseret News, where she also succeeded Simpson.

According to the press release:

Since 1866, Deseret Book Company has been the market leader in the publishing, distribution, and retailing of faith-based books, music, DVDs, religious art and home décor, and other lifestyle products serving, in particular, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The company had its beginnings in 1866 when Elder George Q. Cannon, a member of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, founded George Q. Cannon and Sons Company, which engaged in publishing and retail book sales. In 1901, it was purchased by the Deseret News and became the Deseret News Bookstore until 1919 when the Deseret News Bookstore merged with the Deseret Sunday School Union bookstore and became Deseret Book Company.

Today Deseret Book Company, in addition to maintaining Deseret Book publishing and the 32 brick and mortar Deseret Book retail stores, also includes Excel Entertainment, LDSLiving, Time Out for Women, DeseretBook.com, Deseret Bookshelf app, Shadow Mountain Publishing, Covenant Publishing, and 24 Seagull retail stores.