At the special meeting of Quarto shareholders held today, company cofounder and CEO Laurence Orbach was removed as a director of the publishing company and replaced by Tim Chadwick. The meeting had been forced by two shareholder groups led by Harwood Capital that hold a 19% stake in the publisher and who have been unhappy with Quarto’s performance under the direction of Orbach. Harwood’s move to unseat Orbach succeeded despite the fact that Orbach had the backing of the Quarto board.
It wasn’t clear this morning how the move to Chadwick will affect Quarto’s plans to have Marcus Leaver succeed Orbach sometime in 2013. Leaver, former CEO of Sterling Publishing, was named COO of London-based Quarto earlier this year with the expectation that he would take over for Orbach.
Although headquartered in London, Quarto has a large presence in the U.S. under the Quayside Publishing Group. Orbach has expanded Quarto's U.S. holdings through a series of acquisitions including Cool Springs Press last March. For the six months ended June 30, total sales were up 1%, to $73.2 million, with operating profits up 6%.