EMI chief poised to provoke more ire with 2,000 job cuts

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The Independent Online

Guy Hands, the financier accused of running EMI like a "plantation owner", is set to provoke further ire when he reveals plans to cut 2,000 jobs from the music company's recorded music division tomorrow.

Mr Hands, who runs the private equity company Terra Firma which took over EMI last year, has come in for harsh criticism from musicians – many of them on EMI's books – for his initial attempts at getting the struggling music company back on its feet. With a number of industry veterans already axed, plans to cut thousands of staff and possibly thousands of the company's acts could further enrage artists on the company's roster.

Although job cuts were considered inevitable following Terra Firma's takeover, the number proved to be double what had been expected. The cuts will be in EMI's recorded music division, which has underperformed for a number of years. The division encompasses more than 40 distinct labels and employs 4,400 around the world.

Mr Hands looks set to look to cut costs in areas such as back-office functions and marketing as he looks to rapidly improve the profitability of the business despite tough market conditions in the music industry. The process to combine the back office functions of various music labels will be led by Mike Clasper, the former BAA chief executive who joined EMI recently.

EMI will hold a meeting for staff, artists and management in Knightsbridge tomorrow when he will detail his plans via a video link. He is likely to try to woo artists with a commitment not to cut into the company's artist & repertoire (A&R) operation, which acts as a link between the artists and the labels, and also spots talent. Mr Hands is expected to announce further investment in A&R, and is likely to try to convince artists that they could make more money under the new structure if they are successful.

Mr Hands has his work cut out for him, with a number of people associated with the company's key artists – notably Robbie Williams and Coldplay – openly criticising him for his approach to restructuring the company, and threatening to go on strike as a result of his takeover.

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