EMI's Bandier exits ahead of schedule

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Choosing to beat the timetable for his planned exit from EMI Music Publishing, chairman and co-CEO Martin Bandier resigned from the company Monday. The move had been anticipated (HR 9/29).

Bandier had been in the top echelon at EMI Music Publishing, the top music publishing firm, since 1989, when his partnership SBK Entertainment World was purchased by EMI's then-parent Thorn-EMI. Last year, a succession plan was put into place in which former EMI chief financial officer Roger Faxon, now president and co-CEO of the publishing unit, would take on the chairmanship upon the expiration of Bandier's contract in March 2008.

Instead, Bandier will now remain with the company until April 2007. A planned three-year consultancy with EMI is off the books.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bandier explained his early exit: "I was ready for my next challenge, as plain and simple as that. One of the reasons to start this process (now) is to give myself a chance to explore all the opportunities that are available."

He added, "I feel very positive that there's lots of people who'd be interested in speaking to me."

According to sources and several published reports, lots of people already have been speaking to Bandier. In September, sources confirmed that Bandier had been in discussions with Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. about a role at the company — including potentially taking on the chairmanship of the No. 2 publishing enterprise, WMG's publishing arm Warner/Chappell Music, currently headed by Richard Blackstone.

A report on Monday suggested that Bandier also had been approached by EMI Group chairman Eric Nicoli about a possible joint venture involving a stand-alone company headed by Bandier.

Bandier had no comment on any of the rumored discussions.

The veteran executive — whose former company SBK also operated label interests — has evidently not discounted a move into other areas besides publishing. He said, "This is a moment in time when I have a rare opportunity to consider anything and everything. I have no preconceived notions, but I'm sure 'music' will somehow be in the title."

Nicoli acknowledged Bandier's departure in a statement: "Over the last 17 years, Marty Bandier has led the development of EMI Music Publishing into a world-leading force. Roger Faxon and his talented management team will drive this outstanding business to new heights in the years ahead."
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