EMI Group begins revamp, promotes pair

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LONDON -- The restructuring of EMI Group has begun, following last week's departure of EMI Music chairman and CEO Alain Levy and vice chairman David Munns.

In the first visible signs of EMI's post-Levy structure, the company has promoted Jean-Francois Cecillon to the newly created role of chairman and CEO of EMI Music International, and Ian Hanson becomes chief operating officer of EMI Music. Both report to EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli.

Cecillon was chairman and CEO of EMI Music Continental Europe, and Hanson was EMI Music senior vp, chairman's office.

Nicoli, executive chairman of EMI Group since July 1999, took the CEO role Jan. 12. It gives him direct responsibility for the management of EMI Music, the group's record arm. He has now established an international division for the management of EMI's recorded music business outside the U.K. and North America, headed by Cecillon.

In his new role, Cecillon oversees operations in continental Europe, Japan, Asia, Latin America and Australia/New Zealand. EMI Music's North American business will continue to report directly to Nicoli, as will EMI Music U.K. and Ireland under its chairman and CEO Tony Wadsworth. Munns had headed U.S. operations as chairman of EMI Music North America.

"For the past two and a half years, JF Cecillon has led our continental European operations across 21 countries and delivered a major turnaround in that business," Nicoli said. "During his tenure, EMI's market share in the region has grown by nearly three points, profits have tripled, and new artists have been established including Raphael, Diam's and Camille in France, La Fee in Germany, Amaral and Bebe in Spain and Finley, Subsonica and Mondo Marcio in Italy."

Hanson's new role is a global position, involving responsibility for the division's business affairs and operations functions, including global distribution, manufacturing and digital supply chain.

Nicoli said Hanson is "a proven dealmaker who has played a central role in developing and implementing new and innovative strategies across the business, from pioneering artist agreements with artists such as Robbie Williams through to driving efficiencies in EMI Music's global supply and digital distribution chain."

At the time of Levy and Munns' departure, EMI announced its third bout of cost-cutting since the duo's arrival in October 2001. The company also said it would institute a cost-saving plan intended to deliver £110 million ($217 million) in annual savings across the group and would begin delayering its management structure. Sources close to EMI said those cuts will be across the EMI Group, including EMI Music and EMI Music Publishing and the corporate center, though EMI Music will bear the larger part of the cuts.

An EMI Group spokeswoman confirmed that the company's restructuring plan "has begun and will be completed as rapidly as possible." The restructuring, she added, "is very focused on delivering higher profitability and cash generation. As a result, in 18 months' time the group should have a much stronger cash profile than it does today."

EMI Music operates in 70 countries around the globe, through 50 affiliates and 20 licensees. According to its 2005-06 annual report, it had 5,672 employees worldwide and 2005-06 revenue of £1.66 billion ($3.27 billion).

Tom Ferguson is deputy global editor at Billboard
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