ROME (AP) — A U.S. publishing executive died in a boating accident off Italy’s Amalfi Coast, her company said Friday.
Adrienne Vaughan, 45, was president of Bloomsbury Publishing’s U.S. branch, which counts writers ranging from bestselling novelists Sarah J. Maas and Susanna Clarke to historian Mark Kurlansky among its roster of authors.
A Bloomsbury book, “Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist’s Memoir of the Jim Crow South,” by the late Winfred Rembert (as told to Erin I. Kelly), won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2022.
Vaughan, who had a master’s degree in business from New York University, had worked at the Disney Book Group and Oxford University Press among other companies before joining Bloomsbury in 2020 as executive editor and COO. She was promoted to president a year later and also served on the board of the industry trade group the Association of American Publishers.
“Adrienne Vaughan was a leader of dazzling talent and infectious passion and had a deep commitment to authors and readers,” said the association’s board chair, Julia Reidhead, and its president and CEO, Maria A. Pallante, in a joint statement. “Most of all she was an extraordinary human being, and those of us who had the opportunity to work with her will be forever fortunate.”
The motorboat Vaughan and her family were on was rented through a skipper and had been headed to Positano when it crashed into a sailboat Thursday, Italian media said. The sailboat was carrying more than 80 U.S. and German tourists, including some celebrating a wedding.
Vaughan was pulled from the water and brought to a dock but died by the time a helicopter ambulance arrived, state TV said.
The Italian coast guard office in Amalfi was investigating the crash. The office did not respond to a call or an emailed request for more information.
Vaughan’s husband, Mike White, was hospitalized with a shoulder injury while the couple’s two young children were uninjured, according to the reports.
No one aboard the sailboat was injured.
A blood test for the skipper of the motorboat tested positive for substance use, according to Italian news agency ANSA, which didn’t indicate whether the result indicated alcohol or drug consumption. The skipper, an Italian about 30 years old, suffered a broken pelvis and ribs, ANSA said.
There was no answer at the courthouse in the southern of port city of Salerno, where prosecutors were overseeing the investigation into the accident.
Vaughan’s husband Mike WHite told PIX11 in a statement:
Adrienne’s death has devastated our family. She was a beloved mother, wife, daughter, sister, niece and dear friend and colleague to many. Her absence from our lives and the terrible circumstances of her death are impossible to comprehend.
We look to the Italian authorities to fully investigate the circumstances leading to Adrienne’s death, to ascertain where responsibility for this lies, and to ensure that any person who is found to bear responsibility is held accountable under the Italian criminal justice system. We are cooperating with the Italian authorities in their investigations, and will continue to do so until they conclude.
Our family would like to thank everyone who has supported us in the days immediately following these unimaginable events, and we would ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.Mike White