Mary Burns, a Barbour Publishing veteran of 23 years, has been named president and chief operating officer of the Ohio-based company, which specializes in Christian fiction, devotionals and Bibles.

Timothy Martins is stepping aside as president, but retaining his roles as CEO in the company and a member of the board of directors. “I’m ecstatic about the possibilities for the company and its owners under Mary’s leadership,” he said, in announcing the promotion, which took effect January 1.

Burns moved to Barbour from a background in direct mail marketing with Americalist Media Marketing and rose to become v-p of marketing. Tuesday, she told PW, “Joining Barbour was a perfect fit since I was able to use my experience in direct marketing and help support Barbour’s mission as a Christian publisher. God definitely led me here and it has been a wonderful place to work.””

She begins by acting on the game plan for growth between 2018 and 2023 developed by a Barbour team over the course of last year. This year, Burns elaborated, “we’ll be concentrating on our Bible Reference line, renewing our strategy for backlist titles, and launching a brand-new website. In addition, we have plans for all of our major categories as well as exploring new markets and opportunities to reach Christians.”

Burns said, “Now’s the time to really get creative. People aren’t necessarily going to find our books by visiting a bookstore so how can we get our books into their hands? This is the most interesting challenge to the point that we changed our vision statement to incorporate ‘…where they shop, play, gather, and live.’”

Burns also announced her first promotion from within the 36-person staff – her replacement as v-p of marketing. Shalyn Sattler, who joined Barbour in 2005.

Barbour Publishing, founded by industry veteran Hugh R. Barbour in 1981, publishes nearly 200 titles a year. Martins, who purchased Barbour in 2000, presided over its shift to an employee-owned company in July 2017.