Axe falls on Nicoli amid EMI reshuffle

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The Independent Online

Guy Hands has tightened his grip on EMI after ousting Eric Nicoli, the company's long-serving chief executive, and appointing the former ICI executive Chris Roling to oversee a major shake-up of the company's structure.

Mr Nicoli is eligible for a pay-off just shy of £1.7m, factoring in salary, bonuses and pension benefits and will also be paid about £1.2m for shares he owns. Mr Nicoli negotiated the sale of EMI to Terra Firma, Mr Hands' investment vehicle, earlier this year and at that stage was due to stay on at the music company to oversee a major overhaul of the business.

Mr Hands has brought in a new team from outside the music industry to shake up the struggling company, thus dispensing with the services of Mr Nicoli and Martin Stewart, EMI's chief financial officer. Mr Roling has been appointed as chief operating officer and CFO of the company, while Ashley Unwin, a former Deloitte Consulting executive, has been appointed to evaluate the performance of EMI's divisional heads. Julie Williamson, one of Mr Hands' key lieutenants, has also been drafted in to review the company's relationships with key partners such as Apple. Roger Faxon, head of EMI's publishing division, will stay on with the company after its delisting, due to take place on 18 September.

Mr Nicoli has been under pressure to quit the company he has led since 1999 after a series of profit warnings and aborted attempts to merge with its rival Warner Music.

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