Head of EMI music publishing arm quits early

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The Independent Online

Martin Bandier, one of EMI's longest-serving executives, is quitting the music group where he turned its music publishing division into the most successful in the industry.

His exit was confirmed by the company yesterday after days of industry gossip that he has been in talks to join EMI's rival and wannabe merger partner Warner Music.

Mr Bandier has been a major player at EMI since 1989 when it bought SBK Entertainment World, his publishing partnership with Charles Koppelman and Stephen Swid. His exit rips up a carefully choreographed succession plan announced last year, under which Mr Bandier was to relinquish his job as co-chief executive of the publishing division next April but remain as chairman for a further 12 months. In what appeared to be a shot across the bows of Edgar Bronfman, the Warner Music boss, EMI's statement yesterday said that Mr Bandier's contract "runs until April 2007 when he will leave the company".

EMI's publishing division is charged with squeezing money from the company's back-catalogue of music, licensing songs for films, musicals and commercials.

The music industry grapevine has been vibrating with reports that Mr Bronfman has been trying to woo Mr Bandier to head Warner/Chappell, Warner's own music publishing division, which is second in size to EMI. One or other of the divisions would have been put up for sale if EMI and Warner had consummated a merger that was under discussion this year, and Mr Bandier is believed to have been frustrated by the failure to reach a deal.

In a polite exchange of remarks, Eric Nicoli, chairman of EMI Group, said: "Over the last 17 years, Marty Bandier has led the development of EMI Music Publishing into a world-leading force. Roger Faxon [Mr Bandier's co-chief executive] and his highly talented management team will drive this outstanding business to new heights in the years ahead."

Mr Bandier said: "It is very satisfying to be leaving the company in such a strong position."

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