Q&A: Roger Faxon
Still in the getting-to-know-you phase with Citigroup, the EMI CEO keeps spirits up and debt low as the company faces the toughest music market yet.
The CEO of struggling music powerhouse EMI is trying to reinvent the company for the new music economy. No doubt Roger Faxon has his work cut out for him. A little more than six months into his new position at EMI (he was promoted in June from its music publishing division), the iconic company that’s home to Coldplay, Katy Perry and the Beatles was in court fighting for its very existence. Guy Hands, CEO of Terra Firma, the venture-capital firm that bought U.K.-based EMI in May 2007 for $4.7 billion, sued Citigroup, claiming it tricked his private-equity group into overpaying at the height of the credit market. A jury in November threw out Hands’ claim, and Citigroup seized control of EMI on Feb. 1. With 2,5000 employees and revenues of more than $5.6 billion in 2009, it’s the smallest of the four major labels and has also been saddled by several executive shuffles, claims of weak artist development and frivolous spending. Now significantly lighter — its debt diminished by two-thirds, $480 million in cash reserves and no plans for more cutbacks — Faxon’s company is poised for a fresh start, but some still wonder whether it can remake its tarnished image. (Winning 20 Grammys on Feb. 13 can’t hurt.) The New York-based Faxon, 62, who has two kids and began his career in movies at Lucasfilm and later as an executive at Columbia TriStar, believes it can.
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