Pearson chief executive to step down

LONDON -- Pearson PLC, the U.K. publisher and education company, said Wednesday that chief executive Marjorie Scardino has decided to step down.

Scardino, 65, has been chief executive since 1997 _ managing the company through a time of significant change in the media world. She led Pearson's transformation from a diverse conglomerate to a `'learning company" and helped raise its profile in the United States.

The publisher of the Financial Times and Penguin Group books said Wednesday it expects more than half its revenues to come from digital and services businesses for the first time this year. Pearson has focused extensive resources on education under Scardino's watch.

A former partner in a Savannah, Georgia, law firm, Scardino and her husband founded The Georgia Gazette newspaper, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1984. She is a native of the United States with Texas roots who became chief executive of the Economist Group before joining Pearson.

She will be replaced on Jan. 1, 2013, by John Fallon, who has been responsible for education businesses in markets like China, India, Brazil and southern Africa, which Pearson says are fundamental to growth.