Power ally brought back into the fold as Mean Fiddler rings yet further changes

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The Independent Online

The game of musical chairs in the boardroom of Mean Fiddler, the live music promoter, continued yesterday, with Melvin Benn returning to the company after the reinstatement of Vince Power as chairman last week.

Mr Benn, who was managing director of the group, with direct responsibility for its festivals division, said two weeks ago that he was leaving, following the decision by Mr Power to cash in his shareholding and step down as chairman.

Dean James, the chief operating officer, was appointed chief executive and the company announced the acquisition of a telecoms business to turn Mean Fiddler - famous for its live music venues such as London's Astoria and Jazz Café - into a major force in music downloads. Mr Power was to stay on only to advise on its festivals division in a non-executive capacity. Mean Fiddler owns the Reading and Leeds festivals and has a 35 per cent stake in the Glastonbury Festival.

But only five days after the announcement, Mr Power threw out Mr James as chief executive and announced that the takeover of Media Internet Telecoms (MIT) was off. He said he was keeping his shares and would remain at the helm, thwarting the succession of Richard Clingen, the owner of MIT, who was due to become chairman of the Mean Fiddler group after the acquisition.

Mr Benn, who is understood to have had differences with Mr James in the run-up to his appointment and is a long-standing associate of Mr Power, has now decided to stay on. Mr Power yesterday said he was "very happy" that Mr Benn had withdrawn his resignation. "The group and its shareholders can continue to benefit from his wealth of experience in the live music industry," Mr Power said.