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EMI CEO Eric Nicoli to leave as part of management shuffle by new owner

EMI CEO Eric Nicoli to leave as part of management shuffle by new owner

Private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. moved to stamp its authority on its new purchase, music company EMI Group PLC, on Wednesday, announcing the departure of CEO Eric Nicoli and outlining a new trading focus.
Terra Firma, which paid 2.4 billion pounds (US$4.9 billion; euro3.5 billion) for EMI, said that both Nicoli and Chief Financial Officer Martin Stewart would leave the company before the completion of the takeover and its delisting from the London Stock Exchange next month.
They will be replaced by Terra Firma managing director, Chris Roling, who will effectively become chief executive as well as chief financial officer, reporting directly to Terra Firma's boss, Guy Hands, who will chair a newly created supervisory board.
Nicoli, who joined EMI in 1999, has been the target of shareholders frustrated at the company's poor performance in recent years.
EMI has struggled more than its contemporaries amid declining physical CD sales, blaming disappointing North American CD sales for a series of damaging profit warnings. But analysts say that the overall industry's woes do not entirely explain EMI's poor performance, pointing out that Warner and Universal have weathered the storm better.
They instead highlight EMI's persistent weakness in the United States, lack of promising new tunes and internal control problems.
Nicoli was criticized for failing to pull off a merger that would have ranked EMI, which has an artist roster including The Beatles, Coldplay, the Rolling Stones, Kylie Minogue and Joss Stone, alongside Vivendi's Universal and the SonyBMG joint venture.
For a while earlier this year, it seemed that merger talks with Warner Music Group Corp. _ which had been running on an off for seven years, but were stymied by regulatory uncertainty and the inability to agree on a price _ would come to fruition.
However, Warner's last US$4.2 billion approach was rejected in March and the U.S. company then made clear it would not bid against Terra Firma.
Analysts have speculated that the private equity firm's plans for EMI might include selling its struggling recorded music business, possibly to Warner, to focus on music publishing.
Hands said Wednesday that the "initial focus will be to maximize the value of the significant assets in EMI's publishing business and to realize the digital opportunity in recorded music."
"We will invest in the business to ensure that it grows both organically and by acquisition," he added.
EMI's music publishing division, ranks No. 2 in the world behind Universal's business, and, unlike, recorded music, performs strongly in the United States where it owns the Motown catalog.
Roger Faxon, the chief executive of the music publishing division, is the only senior survivor from the old regime under the management structure announced Wednesday.
Roling, previously an executive at Imperial Chemical Industries PLC, will become chief operating officer and chief financial officer of both EMI Group and EMI Music. Fellow Terra Firma managing director, Ashley Unwin, will become director of business transformation.
Julie Williamson, another managing director of Terra Firma, will join Hands on the supervisory board to focus on EMI's strategic business relationships.


Updated : 2021-04-11 16:15 GMT+08:00