The head of Penguin is not your conventional manager-on-the-make. A financial journalist by training, he has switched easily between advertising, consultancy and corporate management without formal qualifications, and some mark him out as next boss of Pearson.
John Makinson strikes most people as a terribly nice, terribly bright man. Grey-haired, dark-eyebrowed, slightly scruffy, with a toothy smile and a little twinkle in his brown eyes as if he's savouring a joke you haven't quite got yet, he should, you feel, be running something weighty over which he could exercise a charactistically light touch - the Financial Times op-ed pages, perhaps, or the Aldeburgh music festival.
Well, Penguin will do, another step in a non-linear career that has seen Makinson take in Reuters, Pearson's FT (there you are), Saatchi & Saatchi, investor relations consultancy, the FT again and, before Penguin, the finance director slot at Pearson. 'Polymath', as one of his friends describes him, barely does him justice.