Ridout to take over as Head of Zeus c.e.o.

Ridout to take over as Head of Zeus c.e.o.

Anthony Cheetham is stepping down as c.e.o. of Head of Zeus, with former Phaidon Press m.d. Amanda Ridout taking on the role.

Cheetham will remain in place until January 2014 and then become chairman of the one-year-old start-up. Ridout joins Head of Zeus in September.

Cheetham told The Bookseller: “I shall remain a significant chairman in the business. Obviously I have got to give Amanda a clear run at c.e.o., but being a chairman doesn’t mean I’m retiring. It doesn’t mean I’ll be full-time in the office either, I won’t be, but I’ll nip back in now and again just enough so people don’t forget who I am.” He added: “I’m 70 years old, after all. I might feel 19, but I need to put in place a progression plan.”

Cheetham said his latest publishing house had taken off “much faster than I thought”, with the company now aiming to achieve £20m sales in five years’ time. HoZ, which this week saw The Detectives Daughter by Lesley Thomson reach number one on the Amazon Kindle Chart, will “break even” this year with a £3m turnover.

“A turnover of £20m is a nice size so we can compete with larger, corporate publishers, and we can compete effectively with getting sales into supermarkets,” Cheetham said.

"That is really the objective: to bring in a c.e.o. who can take the business onto that £20m sales revenue level.”

He described Ridout, a former m.d. at both Headline and HarperCollins, as having an “impressive” sales background, and being “an acute editor” and “an incredibly capable manager who knows how to lead”.

Ridout said: “This is a time of unprecedented opportunity to connect authors with readers, to experiment in the digital space and to create a company grounded in the 21st century.

There is a bright future for bringing great storytelling—whether fiction or fact—to a global market.”