Cheetham resigns from Quercus

<p>Anthony Cheetham, one of the biggest names in British publishing, has resigned as chairman and publisher of Quercus Publishing citing strategic differences with the firm&#39;s management. The move comes just three months after Cheetham stepped down from his role as executive chairman of the<br />independent publisher to take on the role of non-executive chairman.</p><p>Cheetham&#39;s fellow non-exec director David Potter takes over as interim chairman.</p><p>Cheetham told <em>The Bookseller</em>: &quot;When I started Quercus in 2005 it was to launch a trade list which would complement the contract publishing programme of Smith Davies Ltd. For the next three years this partnership proved to be an exciting and rewarding experience. I shall always remember the team who cheerfully and fearlessly built a new imprint from scratch and created a &pound;12m business.&quot;</p><p>Cheetham said he found the non-exec role left him too distant from the day-to-day running of the list. &quot;Since assuming a non-executive position, I have felt less comfortable with my role in the company and with some of the key decisions adopted by management.&quot;</p><p>Cheetham said the business was stuck in an awkward middle ground between the largest publishers and the smaller independents, and either needed to raise further cash to expand or draw its horns in. &quot;I felt standing still was not the wisest option&quot;. Cheetham&#39;s family still controls around 7% of the quoted business&#39;s stock.</p><p>Mark Smith, Quercus&#39;s co-founder, said: &quot;I don&#39;t think the non-exec position suited Anthony, he wasn&#39;t enjoying it and I&#39;m sorry that he didn&#39;t.&quot; In terms of the strategy differences he said: &quot;We&#39;re in the middle of a deep recession - we need to step back a little on our expansion and get our house in order. I&#39;m hoping to take a step back to take a step forward.&quot; He described Cheetham&#39;s departure as &quot;good natured, very amicable.&quot;</p><p>In a statement to be released today Smith added: &ldquo;The strategy to manage the business and deal with the prevailing economic conditions, announced to the market in December 2008, is delivering a satisfactory performance so far this year and Quercus continues to develop its publishing programme, evidenced by the company achieving its first number one bestseller with Stieg Larsson&rsquo;s <em>The Girl who Played with Fire</em> in January. This season&rsquo;s title sales are currently meeting Director&rsquo;s expectations and the company is well placed to build on its position as a leading independent publisher.&quot;</p><p>Quercus, which was listed on the PLUS market in October 2006, raised &pound;1.75m through a share issue in December, but had to cut its expansion plans and staff salaries because of the recession.</p>