Ex-ITV boss goes to EMI Music as CEO leaves

EMI posted a full-year $2.33 billion loss in February

LONDON -- EMI Music, which is seeking new funds to avoid breaching debt covenants, said chief executive Elio Leoni-Sceti would step down shortly, just a month after he was tasked with finding a new business plan.

EMI, home to Robbie Williams and The Beatles, said non-executive chairman and former ITV boss Charles Allen would become executive chairman. It did not give a reason for Leoni-Sceti's departure.

EMI, which is owned by private equity group Terra Firma, has warned of a "likely significant" shortfall when the covenants on its £2.6 billion ($3.88 billion) debt are tested at the end of this month, meaning it could risk losing control of the group.

Terra Firma is also embroiled in an increasingly nasty legal dispute with Citigroup relating to the advice and financing the U.S. bank provided to enable the private equity group to buy EMI in 2007.

And it has also been repeatedly linked with a possible tie up with Warner Music Group, which could rise up the agenda again because Allen took a leading role in consolidating the British broadcasting sector.

Leoni-Sceti joined EMI, now the smallest of the four major record labels, in July 2008.

"Our goals for EMI Music remain the same," Allen said. "I will support and guide the group's strong team, keep EMI's focus on creativity and superb artist and repertoire, and deliver a digital platform.

"This is a great business -- our task is to ensure it has a great future."

Allen was chief executive of Britain's biggest commercial free-to-air broadcaster ITV from 2004 to 2007 but he stood down after complaints from investors who criticized the quality of the program making.

EMI posted a full-year £1.56 billion ($2.33 billion) net loss in February. Leoni-Sceti will leave on March 31.