Quarto Shareholders Upset About Slow Transition to Digital Oust Founder and CEO From Board

With designs on making the most of the digital publishing transition, Quarto shareholders voted Laurence Orbach, company founder and CEO, out today.

Tim Chadwick takes over Orbach’s board seat and it’s unclear what this means for Marcus Leaver, Orbach’s previously named successor and current Quarto COO.

The Quarto Group takes pride in its self-replenishing revue stream: “Over 60% of the Group’s income comes from a backlist of more than 9,000 titles,” according to the company’s website, but hasn’t, to date, focused on digital. Publishers Weekly reports that “for the six months ended June 30, total sales were up 1%, to $73.2 million, with operating profits up 6%.”

Related: Digital Sales Grow 87% at Quarto, Still Just 2.2% of Overall

Nonetheless, Harwood Capital (which owns a 19.2 % stake in the company and also holds options on an additional 10%) alleged in October that Orbach “persisted with a misguided acquisition strategy,” resulting in “volatile earnings, lacklustre share price and a substantial increase in debt.”

In a letter to employees, Leaver pledged to “continue to listen to the thoughts of all our stakeholders over the coming weeks as I outline my vision for the company, a company that will focus on the best elements of its business and reshare accordingly for the future.”


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