Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

EMI Gets a New Boss. When Does It Get a New Owner?

Terra Firma, the private equity fund that owns EMI Music Group, has brought in a new CEO for the music label. Elio Leoni-Sceti is out; Charles Allen, the former CEO of British broadcaster ITV replaces him.

Leoni-Sceti came to the company in July 2008, a move that raised plenty of eyebrows as he had zero experience in the music business. His background was marketing packaged goods like Woolite and French’s Mustard.

But in retrospect it doesn’t really matter who Terra Firma brought in to run the company; the investment group’s big mistake was paying too much for EMI, using too much debt, in 2007.

At this point, the real question for EMI isn’t who runs it, but who owns it. There’s a decent chance that Terra Firma will breach a banking covenant in coming months and that control of EMI will go to Citigroup (C), which owns most of the label’s debt.

The conventional wisdom is that part or all of  EMI will end up in the hands of longtime rival Warner Music Group (WMG) sooner or later.

Release:

CHARLES ALLEN BECOMES EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF EMI MUSIC LONDON, 10 MARCH 2010 — EMI Music announces the appointment of Charles Allen as its Executive Chairman.

Charles has been non-executive Chairman of EMI Music since January 2009, chairing its Board and supporting the transformation of the business. Elio Leoni-Sceti, EMI Music’s Chief Executive, who has successfully led EMI Music through the first phase of its operational turnaround, will be leaving the company on March 31st 2010.

Over the past two and a half years, EMI Music has become a stronger and growing company, with a talented senior team, significant creative success and a more rigorous approach to marketing and operations. This has resulted in increased sales, improved market share and industry-leading EBITDA margins.

Charles said: “Elio has done a great job. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him; he is a very talented executive and we all wish him well in the future. Our goals for EMI Music remain the same. I will support and guide the group’s strong team, keep EMI’s focus on creativity and superb A&R, and deliver a digital platform. This is a great business – our task is to ensure it has a great future.”

Elio added: “EMI is a wonderful business with a great team and new creative and operational momentum. My job here is now done and it is time for me to move on. It has been a pleasure to work with Charles and so many other talented and committed people. I look forward to seeing the company go on to further success in the future.”


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik