Shareholders win battle to oust Quarto founder from the board

Kasmira Jefford
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REBEL shareholders yesterday won a drawn-out battle to oust Quarto chairman and chief executive Laurence Orbach from the board of the publishing house, with industry veteran Tim Chadwick to take his place.

At the special meeting forced by activist investor Harwood Capital, shareholders voted in favour of removing Orbach, Quarto’s largest shareholder, who founded the publisher in 1976.

The company which publishes everything from sex manuals to knitting books has already set out plans to split the chairman and chief executive role, with chief operating officer Marcus Leaver set to succeed Orbach as chief executive next year.

Chadwick, has been director to the board but it is still unclear whether he will take up the role of chairman.

Harwood Capital, which owns 19 per cent of the company together with the Wellcome trust, wanted to parachute Chadwick, the founder of Aurum Press, into the role after accusing Orbach of frittering away £44m on acquisitions amounting to double its market value since 2003.