EMI non-execs blocked Fifield from top job

A REARGUARD action by EMI's non-executive directors prevented Jim Fifield, the pounds 7m-a-year head of its music division, from succeeding Sir Colin Southgate as chief executive, it emerged yesterday.

Mr Fifield is understood to have been the favoured candidate among executive directors to take over the top job when Sir Colin moves into the role of non-executive chairman. But the powerful group of independent directors on the EMI board blocked the move.

It has also been confirmed that Sir Colin's decision to stay on as executive chairman is a short-term measure and that a successor as chief executive is expected to be named by June or July. The group is looking internally and externally for a new chief executive.

The group of non-executives who blocked Mr Fifield's promotion consists of Sir Peter Walters, non-executive chairman of SmithKline Beecham; Eric Nicoli, chief executive of United Biscuits; Sir Graham Day, former chairman of Rover, British Aerospace and PowerGen; Hugh Jenkins, formerly of the Prudential; and Dr Harald Einsmann, an executive director of Proctor and Gamble.

Although it had been suggested that the EMI board balked at the salary being demanded by Mr Fifield, senior internal sources rejected this.

"It wasn't so personal as that. The board decided it wanted someone with a wider scope and a broader menu of skills who had financial abilities required but also the strategic vision to see where the group has come from, where it is going and the technologies that will drive it," one insider said.

Suggestions that Mr Fifield's prospects of seizing the top job had been undermined by his closeness to Ken Berry, the president of EMI Recorded Music, were also discounted.

The Bel Air-based Mr Berry and his wife, Nancy, have been subject to unflattering coverage of their lifestyles and the power that the duo now wield within the EMI empire.

But one senior source dismissed reports that Sir Colin and the board were unhappy with Mr Berry as "horseshit". He added: "The board and Sir Colin believe Berry is doing what he is paid for and doing it well."

Stories about his wife's rock'n'roll lifestyle, including late-night parties at fashionable Los Angeles and New York clubs, and Mrs Berry's penchant for attending meetings barefooted and in short skirts, were dismissed as "a nasty little campaign".

City analysts have become concerned about what they perceive to be a power vacuum beneath Sir Colin Southgate at EMI. With Mr Fifield set to leave when his contract runs out next year and Ken Berry ruled out for the top job, there are no other credible internal candidates for the position of chief executive. An external search will take longer, leaving Sir Colin to fulfil his dual roles as chairman of EMI and head of the Royal Opera House.

EMI shares have performed dismally since it was demerged from the Thorn rental business in summer 1996. The shares have lost more than 25 per cent of their value since then. However, the stock bounced 22p to 540p yesterday as bid rumours resurfaced. Analysts say a predator could take advantage of EMI's management malaise and use it as an opportunity to strike. Seagram, Disney and Bertelsmann, the German music group, have all been mentioned as possible bidders.

EMI is set to become a more focused music group following its Waterstone's deal with WH Smith last week. Its HMV music and Dillons books businesses will be grouped into a separate company with Waterstone's. The new company, HMV Media, will be treated as an associate in EMI's accounts and floated within two years.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

.NET Software Developer (.NET, C#, ASP.NET, front-end)

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried