Lonely Planet CEO Daniel Houghton has stepped down from his role at the travel publisher leaving parent company NC2 reportedly in pursuit of a sale of the business.
The move arrives five years after the Tennessee-based media company bought Lonely Planet with the 24 year old Houghton – formerly executive director – taking on the role of chief operating officer at the time.
Reports suggest that NC2 is now looking for a buyer for the travel publisher, a company that has spun a series of travel guides, recipe books and children’s books out of the Lonely Planet brand, after buying it for £51.5 million in 2013.
Previous owners BBC Worldwide had paid £132 million over two stages in 2007 and 2011 to own 100 per cent of the publisher, investing a further £20 million.
A Lonely Planet spokesperson told The Bookseller: “We can confirm that Daniel Houghton has stepped away from his role as CEO of Lonely Planet in order to take on a new CEO role with another digital company.
“We’d like to thank him for everything he did at Lonely Planet over the last five years and it’s a testament to his leadership and dedication that Lonely Planet is in the strong position it is today as one of the world’s leading travel brands.
“The rest of Lonely Planet’s leadership team remains in place and will be continuing with business as usual.”
Houghton detailed his departure via Twitter to 2,200 followers on Tuesday, May 8, saying: “So thankful for an amazing five years at Lonely Planet.
“Unbelievably grateful for our team, partners and customers throughout our 45 year history. Whatever you do in life make sure you take time to travel and see the world. Travel is absolutely a force for good.
“Also really excited to announce that I have accepted a new role as CEO of another company starting in a few months. Will share more details as soon as I can. Great things to come.”
The publisher partnered with Amazon and Google to offer travellers access to Lonely Planet products through the Alexa device and Google Home and launched a platform for digital videos alongside partners such as GoPro as well as made tweaks to its online store.
Last year, it commissioned 360 VR videos from around the world and in 2016 is launched a culinary imprint, Lonely Planet Food.