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Exclusive Books CEO calls it quits

Exclusive Books CEO Benjamin Trisk is parting ways with South Africa's largest bookseller due to "a breakdown in the relationship among shareholders".
Exclusive Books Ballito Junction
Exclusive Books Ballito Junction

Trisk elected to leave the company after reaching an "amicable settlement" with the board, reports Business Day. It's reported that he is largely bound by a confidentiality agreement in terms of the settlement.

Trisk was suspended from his role in February pending the outcome of a disciplinary inquiry. The reasons for his suspension remained confidential. At the time Trisk stated: "They have no merit. I know I have the support of my staff and the publishing industry, both of whom are fully aware of my success as CEO."

Exclusive Books is majority owned by Global Capital, an investment banking and private-equity firm operating in SA and Australia. Trisk revamped Exclusive Books stores after becoming CEO in December 2013, and has largely been credited for revitalising South Africa's book-selling industry.

In 2017, the Hyde Park store, which includes the upmarket EB Social Kitchen & Bar, was short-listed for an international excellence award in the category "bookstore of the year" at the London Book Fair.

"The board of Exclusive Books, together with all Exclusive Books management and staff, recognise the contribution that Benjamin Trisk has made to the re-engineering of the Exclusive Books business and brand," the retailer said in a statement.

Business Day reached out to the local publishing industry for comment. Jacana Media's Bridget Impey said that Trisk's departure will leave a great gap in the book-selling world. "He gave it the shot in the arm that we all needed," she said.

Jeremy Boraine, publishing director at Jonathan Ball Publishers, said that Trisk had brought energy and passion to Exclusive Books. "He upgraded key stores and invested in promotions, and kept all the publishers on their toes. It’s too early, however, to say what his departure means for Exclusive Books or the trade more broadly."

Trisk said he wished Exclusive Books every success and hoped there would be an emphasis on African literature. "I’m not sure what I’ll do next, but I don’t want to be lost to the industry. I think I have a lot to contribute to it."

Frank Boner is taking over as acting CEO.

For more:

Exclusive Books CEO ends chapter

Local publishers saddened as “revolutionary” Exclusive Books CEO quits


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