Anthony Cheetham, chief executive of the Orion Publishing Group, has made a sudden exit from the company he co-founded in 1991.

It appears that his departure was driven by a change at the top of Hachette Livre, Orion's parent company. Arnaud Nourry took over as president and director general of Hachette and chairman of Orion and Octopus publishing in May, replacing Jean-Marie Lisimachio. The senior management at Hachette decided a change was needed "to assure the ongoing development of Orion into the future."

Peter Roche, co-founder of Orion, will replace Cheetham as chief executive, and Malcolm Edwards, Orion Books managing director, will become deputy chief executive and publisher. No explanation has been forthcoming for Cheetham stepping down, but Nourry thanked Cheetham for his "creativity and publishing flair," which contributed to Orion's success over the past decade.