Publisher Jeremy Robson has left Quarto and is to set up a new imprint at Biteback.
Robson, who founded Robson Books in 1974, has been running his own imprint J R Books at the Quarto Group for the past five years. In his new role, he will be publisher of a general interest imprint, as yet unnamed, which will run alongside Biteback’s politics-oriented list.
Robson said: "I think a number of people imagined I was retiring, but that is not a word in my vocabulary at the present time." Instead, he said, after several "fruitful" years with Quarto, it "became increasingly clear that corporate life did not sit easily on my shoulders", and he welcomed the chance "to spread my wings again".
Biteback m.d. Iain Dale said he admired Robson’s publishing and considered him a perfect fit for Biteback. "He will have an overseeing role across our list, and I hope to make full use of his wide ranging experience in our rather youthful company," he said.
"His contacts in the industry, in the media and among authors are unrivalled, and his experience in acquiring high-profile new titles and selling rights internationally will be invaluable in the coming years."
Catherine Bailey, publicity director for Aurum and J R Books, said no new J R Books titles would be commissioned, but that the remaining books on its schedule would be published under the imprint and managed by the same in-house sales, marketing and publicity team as before. She added: "This team will continue to promote these titles and all of the J R backlist with same energy, enthusiasm and commitment as when Jeremy was at the helm."
Robson’s authors at J R Books have included Maureen Lipman, Michael Winner, Frederic Raphael, Norman Tebbit, Monica Seles and film stars such as Leslie Caron and George Hamilton. Biteback, which launched in 2009, has so far published over 75 books, and includes biographies of Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, with a memoir from former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain among a string of recent acquisitions.