Anthony Cheetham has left Atlantic Books and resigned as a director of the company. It is understood that Cheetham left the publisher on 30th June, with a memo circulated internally announcing his departure. His role has been under discussion for weeks, and rumours of the split have been circulating for some time.
Cheetham described his resignation as a "joint decision" made with Atlantic chief executive Toby Mundy. Cheetham told The Bookseller: "There wasn't a huge amount for me to do at Atlantic, and the projects that I had envisaged working on were not really happening because it has been a difficult year for the company."
Speaking from his home near Evesham, Cheetham said that having overseen the launch of Corvus, run by his son Nicolas Cheetham, he felt it was time to move on and take those projects elsewhere. "I could have stayed on in some kind of non-executive role, but I thought there would then end up being a conflict of interest."
Cheetham joined Atlantic Books on 1st September 2009 as an associate publisher and director on the board, taking on executive responsibility for Corvus, having left Quercus in February that year. In April last year, the company announced that Cheetham would head up a new international contract co-edition imprint.
Cheetham said he now planned to launch his own venture with an announcement expected in the autumn. He declined to give full details, but said that there was an opportunity to develop a "specialist publishing list" using e-books and the web.
Mundy declined to comment when approached by The Bookseller.
In March Atlantic Books made five positions redundant—a cut of around 15% to the 34-strong staff. At that time, Mundy told The Bookseller, "2010 isn't going to be one of our strongest years," citing "poor backlist and export sales" in the second half of the year. However he continued that in the first two months of 2011 Atlantic was "trading ahead of our profit budget".
Cheetham owns 7.5% of Atlantic Books, and indicated that he would not be looking to dispose of his shares in the short term, and was confident that the company would get over its bump. "The shares are a mid to long term investment and I hope they do as well for me as the Quercus shares did."