The compression of Sterling Publishing that we indicated was likely when reporting that Barnes & Noble had been unable to find a buyer for the division has begun. Sterling president Marcus Leaver is leaving to return to England and join Quarto in the new position of chief operating officer, in line to succeed chief executive Lawrence Orbach when he retires, starting in April. Quarto had indicated in late February “the candidate has been identified, and will be announced shortly.” Leaver says in the announcement, “This is a fascinating time in publishing with abundant opportunity and Quarto’s global perspective is unique. I look forward to getting started.” Quarto’s sales are more than twice the reported sales for Sterling.
Sterling will be overseen by Theresa Thompson, who is promoted to evp at Barnes & Noble with responsibility for the publisher. As Publishing Trends reports, editorial eirector Jason Prince, executive editor Nathaniel Marunis, editors Greg Oviatt and Stuart Miller, vp operations Kim Brown and vp sales Karen Patterson have left Sterling.
As Trident Media Group chairman Robert Gottlieb notes in our comments section, “It would be nice if B&N got out in front of this story. Not doing anything is going to cause even more people to leave. Agents are deeply concerned for the authors Sterling is publishing. If authors begin to leave as well, the downward trajectory of the firm will be sharp and could take years to recover from. After the sale of Sterling did not go through this should have been anticipated. All of us at Trident have enjoyed our business relationship with Sterling and we hope it continues.”