Today, the hearts of HarperCollins Christian Publishing employees are mourning the loss of a dear friend and former leader. On the afternoon of June 1, 2018, Sam Moore, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and founder of Royal Publishing, passed away.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Sam Ziady Moore was a 19-year-old Lebanese immigrant who moved to America in the 1950s with only 600 dollars in savings and a dream to attend college. He began to sell Bibles door-to-door to pay for his tuition, and in 1958, Moore established his own company, National Book Publishers in Nashville, Tenn. In 1961, Moore founded Royal Publishing, a fast-growing Christian publisher, by enlisting strategic partners like the late-American entrepreneur Jack C. Massey, co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America and Kentucky Fried Chicken, for capital and business advice.
In the late 1960s, Moore was approached by Thomas Nelson and Sons-a religious publishing house based in New York, originally founded in Edinburg, Scotland-with interest to purchase Royal Publishing. Moore declined, but instead made an offer to purchase Thomas Nelson, and in 1969 Royal Publishing adopted the Thomas Nelson name, dropping "and Sons" to gain more international brand recognition. Moore moved the Thomas Nelson publishing operations to Nashville, Tenn., where it remains today.
As the CEO of Thomas Nelson, Moore grew the company into one of the world's largest evangelical publishing houses, acquiring multiple publishers and imprints with internationally recognized authors like Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Dr. David Jeremiah, Anne Graham Lotz, Max Lucado, John MacArthur, John Maxwell, Charles Stanley, Charles Swindoll and Zig Ziglar, among others. One of Moore's most ambitious business decisions came in the late 1970s when his then 10-year-old son said he could not understand the King James Version of the Bible. Moore was inspired to initiate a comprehensive 4.5 million-dollar translation project utilizing the expertise of 130 commissioned Bible scholars. Seven years later, the New King James Version translation of the Bible was published for the first time in 1983 under Moore's leadership to make the Bible easier to read and understand. The project was said to be the high-point in Moore's faith-journey, one that was started and inspired by American missionaries in Lebanon.
Moore retired in 2005 after nearly 47 years as CEO of Thomas Nelson, but continued to remain in close connection with the leaders who followed in his footsteps. Mark Schoenwald, named president and CEO of Thomas Nelson in 2011 and current president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing said, "Sam was a unique man who embraced God's plan for his life every day with courage and enthusiasm. He dedicated his life's work to preach and teach the good news of the Gospel. Sam impacted and changed the lives of countless people with his time, effort and resources. We are grateful for his vision and dedication to building our company, and appreciated his extended friendship after his retirement. We are praying for his family, especially his wife Peggy, but we take comfort in knowing that Sam is now at peace in his eternal home."
In the weeks leading up to his passing, Moore spent his time at home with his family and loved ones. His son, Joseph "Joe" Moore, said, "Dad had a deep well of energy that he fueled into his love of family, work, travel and missions. He was a strong leader and a loving patriarch to our family. He led by example and taught each of us to not only dream big, but to find our calling and then work diligently and faithfully, always giving our best."
The family requests that memorial donations be made in lieu of flowers to any of the ministries listed below, which Moore supported throughout his life.
Middle Eastern Bible Organization
P.O. Box 9764
The Woodlands, Texas 77387
P.O. Box 3000
Boone, North Carolina 28607
The Gideon's International
P.O. Box 140800
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
Westminster Chapel Presbyterian Church
7000 Executive Center Drive
Building Two, Suite 125
Brentwood, Tennessee 37027