Everybody hates Pearson

Pearson, the devil you don’t know.


John Fallon doesn’t look like the devil incarnate. With his ruddy cheeks and cheerful-but-not-too-posh English accent, Fallon, 52, seems more like a buddy from the local pub than the chief executive of a company with $8.2 billion in revenues that is trying to recast global education—and managing to upset a lot of people in the process.

Fallon, who succeeded longtime Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino in January 2013, is at the helm of an ambitious quest to reinvent the 171-year-old publishing company, best known for its ownership of the Financial Times and its international textbook business, as a “global learning services company.” The goal is not merely to build a more successful and sustainable business—an imperative as Pearson’s traditional print operations shrivel—but also to improve the lives of millions of people throughout the world. “It doesn’t matter to us whether our customers are hundreds of thousands of individual students and their…

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