Goff named new Quarto group chief executive

Goff named new Quarto group chief executive

Alison Goff has been announced as the new group chief executive officer at Quarto.

Goff was formerly chief executive at Octopus but announced in 2020 she was stepping down after 21 years at the company.

She will start her new role at Quarto from 2nd January 2022, taking over from interim group c.e.o. C K Lau, who replaced Polly Powell in July. Lau will remain an executive director of the company. 

Chairman of the board Andy Cumming said: "I am delighted that Alison has agreed to take on the position of group chief executive officer. Alison is a widely respected leader who has built world-class publishing operations. The board is confident that, with her experience, strategic vision and unwavering support from the Quarto team, she will lead the company to the next phase of business growth."

Goff added: "This is an exciting time for Quarto as they are delivering bestsellers around the world. I am delighted to be joining the team and very much looking forward to working with many talented and creative people to build from where they are now and set out a clear roadmap for the future. I will have the help of an extraordinarily supportive board and look forward to delivering growth and much more success over the coming years."

Goff started her publishing career as editor at Croom Helm, and has specialised in illustrated publishing ever since. She was m.d. of Octopus' Hamlyn, Cassell Illustrated, Bounty, Godsfield and Gaia divisions before taking up the role as chief executive in 2005. Goff said she had enjoyed 21 "very happy" years at Octopus but felt it was "the right time to step down" last year, adding: "I’m incredibly proud of the team I’ve built and what we’ve achieved together, and I know I’ll miss them all, but I am looking forward to having some time before new challenges ahead."

Quarto has seen a number of changes recently. In June it was announced c.o.o. Ken Fund will retire on 1st December after 22 years at the company, and in July c.e.o. Powell stepped down to focus on Pavilion Books, which has since been bought by HarperCollins. In September Jo Hanks was appointed as the new publisher at Quarto Children's Books' list for children's illustrated non-fiction.

There have also been changes in its global sales and operations teams, with the appointment of Tara Catogge as group chief operating officer, based in the US, and the promotion of Andrew Stanley to senior vice-president, group sales and marketing. Anna Randall is promoted to UK sales director and has the overall UK sales responsibility for the Quarto Group, including the special sales team and online sales. 

Its most recent financial results showed revenue increasing by 21% to $56.9m (£40.9m) in the six months to 30th June 2021, from $46.9m (£33.7m) during the same period last year. Revenue was also up 1% against 2019's $56.4m (£40.6m), while the publisher's operating profit increased to $4m (£2.9m) from a loss of $1.8m (£1.3m) last year.