Ambassador Theater Group Announces Leadership Change
May 18, 2016
Howard Panter, a knighted titan of British theater who had been ambitiously leading his company into the American market, is suddenly out as leader of the company that he and his wife founded 24 years ago.
The company, Ambassador Theater Group, which is the largest owner of theaters in Britain, portrayed the move as amicable, as did Mr. Panter and his wife, Rosemary Squire.
But some in the theater industry in both cities suggested that the move was the predictable outgrowth of the 2013 acquisition of A.T.G., as the company is known, by an American asset management firm, Providence Equity Partners, and the drive such firms have to increase profitability.
Mr. Panter and Ms. Squire will remain directors of, and shareholders in, A.T.G., and will continue to play creative roles with the company as their executive roles are reduced.
They will be succeeded by a corporate executive without experience in the theater business.
The move came as a surprise: Just six months ago, Mr. Panter was in New York proudly showing off the Hudson Theater, a former Broadway stage he intended to restore, and talking dreamily about the theater community nightspot he wanted to create in a long-abandoned apartment overhead.
And in January, Mr. Panter and Ms. Squire were once again named the most influential players in London theater — topping the annual Stage 100list for the seventh year in a row.