Orbach steps down as Quarto executive chairman

Orbach steps down as Quarto executive chairman

Laurence Orbach has stepped down from his position as executive chairman for Quarto in the latest wave of changes to the company's governance.

In the latest board reshuffle, co-founder Orbach has become a non-executive director for the illustrated publisher after recently being re-appointed executive chairman in May in a shock return to the company after he was ousted in 2012. Meanwhile senior independent non-executive director Andy Cumming has been made non-executive chairman of the firm with immediate effect, taking on the role once occupied by former company chairman Peter Read.

After a shareholder revolt on 17th May, Read left the board along with three other directors, Leslie-Ann Reed, Jess Burley, and Claire Capeci, while Orbach returned as executive chairman, Chuk Kin Lau was appointed executive director, and Mei Lan Lam, c.f.o. of Lion Rock, and Mick Mousley, former Quarto c.f.o., were appointed non-executive directors. Days later Marcus Leaver, then chief executive of Quarto, resigned, and Lau, newly-appointed to Quarto’s board following the coup, stepped up as Quarto's interim chief executive officer.

Ken Fund, who is chief operating officer for the business and joined Quarto in 1999, has also been appointed to the board as an executive director.

The publisher has declined to offer any explanation for the reasons behind the changes when asked by The Bookseller.

Orbach and Lau own a 47% shareholding in the firm between them. According to its last results, the company has a £47m net debt and a market value of £23.5m and shareholders have previously suggested the boardroom coup was partly motivated by a major shareholder’s concern over the publisher’s debt.

It has also previously been reported that Orbach and Lau might have different ideas of how to take the publisher forward, with Orbach suggesting in an internal memo to staff in May that he wanted to take the business back to its co-edition roots.