Phillips out as Warner Music U.K. chairman

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LONDON - Warner Music U.K.'s long-time chairman Nick Phillips will leave the company today to "pursue new opportunities."

At midday Friday, Warner Music International confirming the departure by way of a brief note issued to the media. "Under Nick Phillips' leadership, Warner Music U.K. achieved significant milestones through a period of growth and transformation," commented Patrick Vien, WMI's chairman/CEO, in the memo.

Vien added, "We respect his decision to pursue new opportunities and wish him all best in his future endeavours. Nick leaves in place a strong team of U.K. label heads that ensures our continued success in an evolving business."

Going forward, the U.K. label heads will report into John Reid, vice chairman of WMI, and president of Warner Music Europe, according to a spokesman.

Although WMI did not elaborate on the background to Phillips' departure, industry observers note that the move would create a nice fit with EMI's U.K. executive team, headed by Tony Wadsworth, should parent companies Warner Music Group and EMI Group ultimately agree on a merger.

Phillips, a current member of the BPI Council, has served as Warner Music U.K. chairman since 1999. Having entered into the music industry with ATV Music as a 15-year-old, Phillips carved out a successful publishing career, which included stints with EMI Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing (then MCA).

He turned to the record business in 1993 when was appointed managing director for MCA Records. Later, he was upped to chairman of MCA.

Phillips' exit follows a string of reshuffles at WMI's upper executive ranks. In late February, WMI announced company veteran Gero Caccia would split, while John Reid, vice chairman of music, content and marketing, was handed duties for all the major's operations in continental Europe.
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