Quarto founder forced to quit after 36 years
Thursday 08 November 2012
One of the longest-serving bosses of a listed company was dramatically ousted yesterday after 36 years in charge.
Laurence Orbach was forced to quit as the chairman and chief executive of the independent book publisher Quarto by the activist investor Harwood Capital at an emergency general meeting in London yesterday. Tim Chadwick, Harwood's representative, was elected as a director, and said he will take a hands-on role as chairman as he reviews the business.
Harwood, which is led by Christopher Mills, a long-time critic of Mr Orbach, argued that Quarto had underperformed and failed to deliver value for shareholders.
In a dramatic last-minute move, one of Mr Orbach's fellow co-founders, Robert Morley, switched support to Harwood ahead of the vote. Harwood also upped its stake from 19 per cent to 29 per cent, helping to win over a majority of shareholders.
Mr Orbach, an American academic, did not attend. "It's a very sad end for Laurence," said one ally. Fiona Orford-Williams, an analyst at Edison, paid tribute to Mr Orbach, a notable sceptic about e-books who was more comfortable with the traditional world of physic al books.
"The publishing world will be considerably less colourful," Ms Orford-Williams said. "Laurence Orbach has been a pioneer of successful niche publishing with strident views on the industry." But she warned: "The shares have for too long been trading at a considerable discount to its underlying assets and its peers in the market."
Mr Chadwick said it was crucial that Quarto embraced e-books as it lagged badly behind rivals such as Bloomsbury.
He added that Quarto's self-help and how-to guides were "perfect for the growing middle class in China, India and South America".
Mr Chadwick has backed Quarto's chief operating officer Marcus Leaver, who will take over as chief executive – despite the Quarto board unanimously complaining ahead of the vote that Mr Chadwick had a "limited and poor record of running publishing businesses".
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Tesco in crisis: UK managing director among four executives suspended after exposure of accounting scandal
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Alicia Keys leaks own nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
iJobs Money & Business
£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...