Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, died of a heart attack at the age of 71. Simon & Schuster CFO Dennis Eulau shared the news in a letter to staff on Tuesday. Reidy became CEO of Simon & Schuster in 2008. She had started at the company in 1992 as president of the trade division. She began her career in publishing in 1974 at Random House. She also worked at William Morrow and later became president and publisher of Avon Books. “As a publisher and a leader, Carolyn pushed us to stretch to do just that little bit more; to do our best and then some for our authors, in whose service she came to work each day with an unbridled and infectious enthusiasm and great humor,” Eulau wrote in the announcement. “Her fierce intelligence and curiosity, and her determination to know everything about a given subject if it could help us to be better, were matched by her complete and total accessibility: she wrote congratulatory notes to employees when they were promoted, and colleagues in every corner of our company always felt that they had a first-person relationship with her, and that they could reach out to her to discuss any subject and receive a thoughtful response in return.” Eulau credits Reidy for the success of a number of books by authors such as Pulitzer Prize winners David W. Blight, Anthony Doerr, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Frank McCourt, David McCullough and Siddhartha Mukherjee and world leaders and newsmakers such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dick Cheney, Walter Isaacson and Bob Woodward. “She was equally attentive, on a personal level, to our authors, to whom she sent handwritten notes when they received awards, made the bestseller list, or simply to let them know when she finished reading their books,” Eulau said.