Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire are leaving their chief executive roles at Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) in a move that has shocked the theatre sector. Mark Cornell, former managing director at Sotheby’s Europe, will replace them.
As part of the move the two have bought Trafalgar Studios Theatre in London’s West End from ATG, a venture that will see them take an active role in its artistic direction. Both Panter and Squire will keep non-executive roles at ATG, with Panter acting as an executive producer on some shows and Squire working as deputy chair of the ATG Group.
Said Panter and Squire in a joint statement: ‘ATG is in great shape as a company and poised for additional exciting growth. It is a good time for us to start new creative roles. We have thought long and hard before taking this decision but feel it is a time in our lives for an exciting new challenge.’
Greg Dyke, Chairman of ATG added that: ‘They are changing roles from day to day management and administration of a large company employing more than 3,500 people to concentrate on their first love – the creation of great theatrical works.’
Back in January The Stage named the married couple as the UK’s most powerful figures in theatre. They formed ATG in 1992, and have overseen the company’s growth to become one of the world’s largest theatre groups, with 45 venues on its books. Last year ATG bought five American theatres, as well as its first Australian venue.
The company also owns Sonia Friedman Productions, producer of the new Harry Potter stage show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the company behind worldwide smash hits like The Book of Mormon, Dreamgirls and Legally Blonde The Musical.