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Oni Press has hired a executive search firm to find its next president/publisher

Interviews are underway for the open publisher/president position at Oni Press

Oni Press
Image credit: Oni Press

A formal search is underway for a new president/publisher for Oni Press, Popverse has learned. That might seem obvious since its parent company Polarity LTD terminated long-time Oni Press publisher/co-owner James Lucas Jones back in June 2022,. But according to sources within the company the search for a new publisher began before Jones was terminated.

According to an anonymous source familiar with the situation, Polarity hired an outside executive search firm to find a new president/publisher earlier this year.

Recently Popverse confirmed that then-publisher James Lucas Jones was (and remains) a minority co-owner of the company - alongside Polarity, and Charlie CHu - another minority co-owner.

In August, a current Oni staff said that Polarity was consistently demanding greater profitability from Oni-Lion Forge, prompting a series of layoffs that resulted in what was described as “an ongoing battle that was eventually resolved by firing the person [James Lucas Jones] trying to keep layoffs from happening.”

Popverse has confirmed that Rick Johnson, Polarity's VP of portfolio operations & executions, is the acting president of Oni at this time. He was in attendance at Comic-Con International: San Diego taking meetings about the future of the company, and an anonymous source tells Popverse that Johnson held several interviews for the open publisher position while at Rose City Comic Con in August.

Following the layoffs in June and July, Oni's top two leadership figures remaining were associate publisher Michelle Nguyen and vice president of games Steve Ellis. Nguyen subsequently left the company in late August, and Ellis (and two others) followed in September.

In the past few weeks, former Tapas and Webtoons PR person Kim Estlund has been brought on by Polarity to handle publicity for Oni Press. Oni Press could not be reached for comment on this story.

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Chris Arrant avatar

Chris Arrant

Editor-in-Chief

Chris Arrant is the Popverse's Editor-in-Chief. He has written about pop culture for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel, Newsarama, CBR, and more. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. (He/him)
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