Interview With Kumsal Bayazit, CEO of Elsevier, at the 2019 Charleston Conference

What is Elsevier's direction as an "Information Analytics" company? What is RELX? And what can the background of the new CEO tell us about the direction of Elsevier, itself?

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Charleston Conference veteran Tom Gilson and I spoke to Kumsal Bayazit, the new CEO of Elsevier, at Charleston in November 2019. Part of the conversation dealt with transformative agreements and open access; part of it dug into how Elsevier, as a part of the RELX Group, is changing as the company navigates the rapidly-changing information landscape. 

What is clear is that Elsevier is no longer just a traditional publisher and cannot be expected to behave like a traditional publisher. Kumsal Bayazit, who is both very smart and very savvy, was apparently hired because of her technology background, not her background in publishing.

I believe that the interview is quite revealing.

Matthew Ismail

Editor in Chief of the Charleston Briefings: Trending Topics for Information Professionals; Conference Director at the Charleston Conference, Charleston Conference; ATG Media

I work extensively with the Charleston Conference, both as editor in chief of the Charleston Briefings and as a Conference Director. I worked for 20 some years as an academic librarian specializing in collection development, including six year stints in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and Cairo, Egypt.

I do regular podcasts for ATG The Podcast ( and contribute to conversations on scholarly communication, open access, technology in scholarly communication, startups, and library collection development.

I also teach meditation, especially yoga nidra and other forms of sitting meditation related to yoga. My website is