Pandora White, who has been at the helm of Orion Audio since its inception in 1997, is retiring at the end of this month, on 28th April 2017. She will be succeeded by Paul Stark, who is promoted to senior audio manager.
Orion paid tribute to White as "a genius" and "a legend" in the world of audio publishing who is "much loved and respected by everyone at Orion and all her authors and colleagues in the audio books world".
White forged pairings between narrators and titles including Miranda Richardson and Horrid Henry, Simon Russell Beale and Simon Sebag's The Romanovs and Juliet Stephenson and Belgravia, among others. Before audio publishing had moved much beyond tapes and CDs in 2003, she acquried audio rights to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, which went on to win a Nielson’s Bookscan Award for selling over 250,000 copies. She has also been nominated for and won numerous awards over the years, including for Ian Rankin’s Rebus’s Scotland, the first audio book to be nominated for a British Book Award (in 2004).
Susan Howe, group rights and digital director, commented: "Her awards cupboard bulges, her profits are impressive and she even knows a thing or two about MP3 compression rates. And all this has been done with utter dedication and her trademark mix of charm and humour and a firm, kind hand. Authors, agents, readers, voice agents, producers and publishing colleagues speak with one voice – a master of her art and a mate."
David Shelley, c.e.o., Orion and Little, Brown said: "Pandora is a legend in the world of audio publishing, and she leaves behind an incredible list characterised by a wonderful range of fiction and non-fiction, extremely high production values, and a dazzling range of narrators. We’ll really miss Pandora and wish her well in the next chapter of her life."
White aims to spen summers in Provence, winters in Mexico and promised to keep colleagues "posted about the bits in between!"
"I think I shall always feel overwhelmed by the exciting and amazing years I’ve had with Orion and this is not least due to the wonderful and supportive colleagues I’ve worked with over the years," she said. "To retire leaving Orion Audio as a successful and highly respected list, is a great way to end my career."
Stark, who steps up to manage the audio list in White's stead, joined Orion in 2007, initially working in the rights department before his role later expanded into e-books and digital distribution. He started working with White on the audio list four years ago.
Howe said Stark was "brimming with commitment, ideas and a deep love of the genre".
Stark said: "I’m delighted to be given this opportunity to manage Orion’s audio list. In Pandora I’ve had the best teacher in the world, but also the toughest act to follow – I’m sure I can do her proud. It’s an exciting time to be working in the audio market, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge of developing Orion’s fastest growing imprint."