Polly Powell, CEO of Quarto Group since September 2020, has resigned. In a statement from the publisher, Powell said: "I came to Quarto to make a difference, and I think I have achieved that, so my job is done. Quarto is a fabulous company with outstanding people and it is now firing on all cylinders.” In addition to being CEO, Powell had been a Quarto board member.
Powell, who still owns the U.K. publisher Pavilion Books, first joined Quarto in late 2019, and was named head of the U.K. business before taking over as head of the entire company. Given her dual role as CEO of Quarto and Pavilion, Powell had been expected to stay at Quarto for a limited period. Still, Quarto was surprised at the timing of her departure.
Ken Fund, Quarto COO who, earlier this year, pledged to retire by the end of 2021, said the entire company is having a very good 2021—especially in the U.S., where business, he said, is “fantastic.” Fund noted that sales in the U.S. are ahead of how the market is performing. (In the U.S., unit sales of print books are up 19% through late June at outlets that report to NPD BookScan.)
Fund said a search for a replacement for Powell will begin soon, and that Quarto hopes to have someone in place by the end of the year. The CEO search, Fund added, “will be on both sides of the Atlantic.” Until a successor is found C.K. Lau, one of Quarto’s largest shareholders, will serve as interim CEO, a role he has played in the past.