Breaking news: New boss (again) at EMI

Breaking news: New boss (again) at EMI


norman lebrecht

June 18, 2010

The hedgetrimmers who own what was once the flagship of the music industry have appointed yet another corp-speak soundbite to head the ailing giant. His name is Roger Faxon and he comes from the music-publishing side, which he will merge with the recording business.

He seems to think it’s all about brand, but judge for yourselves. I attach his golden hello letter to fellow executives, along with the press release.

If there are any bookmakers out there, you might like to give me odds on how long before Faxon Faxoff. Tenure at the top of EMI since Terra Firma took over averages around two years.

Among those presently being moved on are John Birt, former boss of the BBC, and Charles Allen, cultural wrecker of ITV.



Here’s Faxon’s fax-on:


Dear All,


I wanted to reach out to all of you following the announcement earlier today of my appointment to the position of EMI Group Chief Executive.  As I said in the press release (attached here), it is a real honour to be working with you all and to be given the responsibility of leading the operations of what I believe to be one of the greatest music brands in the world. I am excited about the challenge of leading the company in the next phase of its long history.


I have worked with many of you in my role as Chairman and CEO of EMI Music Publishing for the last three years, and for those of you who are not so familiar with me, I’ve held a number of roles across EMI Music, EMI Music Publishing and EMI Group in more than 16 years with the company. This is a business that I know well, and one which I believe can make a real difference for the artists and writers that we are all privileged to represent.


My goal is to build a Global Rights Management Business that draws on the expertise and talents of everyone across the entirety of both divisions. I believe that the two businesses, working in concert with one another, sharing the same values, pursuing a coordinated strategy can and will deliver for our artists and songwriters no matter what challenges we face.  


That new business needs to be built on some principles that I believe are fundamental to achieving success in this rapidly changing marketplace:


  • We must be unswervingly focused on championing our artist community, and providing them with the help they need to achieve their maximum potential.


  • The commitment to discovering and promoting new music is absolutely essential to the future growth of the company.


  • We need to recognize the power and importance of the extraordinary catalogue of recordings we represent, and as we do that we need to respect the creative contribution of all the talented artists who made those recordings.


  • We have to be passionate about providing world-class service and services to the many and varied music users and retailers across the globe. We need to be the most trusted and effective partner to them, while also providing fans with the products that they demand.


  • It is vital that we constantly work to enhance the skills of staff in the pursuit of excellence across all parts of the business, if we are to provide artists with the service that they deserve.


  • We must cultivate a culture of cooperation that will enable us to work better and more effectively across different geographies, functions and divisions. By offering a broader set of services to our artists, and a broader set of rights to our clients, we will be able to build a new look EMI that better reflects the way that music is created and consumed, and that delivers more for the talented people we represent.  


I know that many of these principles are as important to you as they are to me, and certainly they have played a big part in the work we have done to deliver growth at EMI Music Publishing over the last few years.


EMI Music has achieved some notable successes recently – all against a remarkably testing and trying corporate backdrop. The change in leadership being announced today is designed to build on that success to forge an EMI that is ideally positioned to deliver for the people that matter most – our artists.


Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be getting up to speed with the recorded music business, and I hope that I will be talking to many of you to get your opinions. I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to talk to you further about my perspective on EMI, and to listen to what you all have to say.


Best wishes


Roger Faxon 

EMI Group Chief Executive 



And here’s the press release:

18 June 2010





Following the recent successful fundraising for EMI Group from the Terra Firma funds and the clear expression of support for the business, EMI Group is pleased to announce the results of its strategic review into how EMI Recorded Music and EMI Music Publishing could best work together to maximise the value of the rights it represents on behalf of its artists and songwriters.  More music is being used than ever before, despite the continued decline in global music revenues. As a result, the management structure of EMI is being changed to enable the company to reposition itself as a comprehensive rights management company that can take full advantage of all global opportunities in all markets for music.  This will maximise the experience and skills which exist within both EMI Recorded Music and EMI Music Publishing under one global head. 

EMI Group is therefore delighted to announce that Roger Faxon has been appointed as Group Chief Executive.  He has been Chairman and Chief Executive of EMI Music Publishing since 2007 and, in this new position, will lead EMI Recorded Music as well as continuing to be responsible for the Publishing business.  Charles Allen formerly non-Executive Chairman of EMI Recorded Music will become an adviser to EMI and its shareholder, Terra Firma.

Stephen Alexander will become Chairman of Maltby Capital, the holding company of EMI.  Stephen has been a director of Maltby Capital for the past 18 months and was formerly an operational Managing Director of Terra Firma.  He has been involved in various aspects of EMI since its acquisition by Terra Firma in 2007 and, in particular, for the past two years, he has worked closely with Roger Faxon at EMI Music Publishing.  Lord Birt, formerly Chairman of Maltby Capital, will move on to other Terra Firma assignments, focusing on acquisitions and strategy, whilst continuing to represent Terra Firma on the Board of Infinis.




Stephen Alexander said:


“Having worked closely with Roger for a considerable time, I know that his leadership of the entire business will be of huge benefit to EMI’s artists, employees and investors.  In particular, his appointment as Group Chief Executive will allow all EMI’s undoubted skills and resources to be implemented to maximum effect as the company continues to develop its new music, catalogue and publishing businesses.”


Under Roger Faxon, EMI Music Publishing has continued to be the leading publisher of popular music in the world.  Last December, Billboard magazine named EMI the top US publisher of the year for the 12th consecutive time.  EMI was named Publisher of the Year at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards, the 8th consecutive year that EMI has won the award and the 16th time in the Awards’ 27-year history. In the UK, EMI was named Music Week’s Publisher of the Year for the 14th consecutive year.

During Charles Allen’s chairmanship of EMI Recorded Music it has achieved an incredible transformation in both earnings and hits.  Market share is increasing for the first time in years and profitability is three times what it was back in 2007.  Additionally, Charles has been instrumental in putting together the plans that enabled the finance to be raised for EMI Group to move forward as an independent company with a strong future.  EMI would like to thank him for a job well done.

Lord Birt’s skilful leadership of EMI Group has enabled it to not only make progress operationally and financially but also to meet the requirements of its debt package in very challenging circumstances.

Roger Faxon is a hugely accomplished music executive, who has spent the last thirty years working across multiple industries in the creative sector. As executive vice president/COO for LUCASFILM Ltd, he guided the financial and operational affairs of George Lucas’s company, including the motion pictures Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He founded movie and TV production business the Mount Company in 1984, producing motion pictures including Frantic, Bull Durham and Tequila Sunrise, before moving to Tri-Star and Columbia Pictures, leading the studio’s marketing, distribution, business affairs, physical production and finance departments.


After a period helming auction house Sotheby’s European operations, Faxon moved to EMI Music in 1994 to lead worldwide strategy development, and has spent the last 16 years working in various senior management roles across the business. He was appointed Chairman and CEO of EMI Music Publishing, the world’s leading publisher of popular music, in 2007.



Roger Faxon said:

“I am delighted and honoured to become Group Chief Executive of EMI, and to be given the responsibility for leading one of the greatest music brands in the world. There is incredible talent and expertise within both EMI Music Publishing and EMI Music, as has been demonstrated by their recent performance. I believe that the two divisions working in concert with one another as a global rights management business, can and will deliver for the artists and songwriters that we are privileged to work with now and in the future.”

Charles Allen said:

“I have really enjoyed my time at EMI, leading a team that has transformed the business over the last few years creating top line growth, share growth and profit growth as well as delivering new hits and a strong performance from our catalogue business.  I’m delighted to have played a part in securing the investment in the Group by our shareholders.  It gives us a firm platform for future growth.  This repositioning and restructuring will benefit our artists and I’m delighted that EMI will be led by an experienced, music industry veteran.  The whole EMI Group and its artists will benefit from having one Chief Executive and I look forward to supporting Roger and his colleagues.”

Lord Birt said:


“It has been a pleasure to work with EMI, and in particular with Recorded Music, since its purchase by Terra Firma three years ago. The turnaround – and the improvement in the profitability of the business – has been remarkable. I am delighted to see Roger become Group Chief Executive. He is a tireless and consummate music industry professional, whom I have learnt greatly to respect. He and Stephen form the ideal leadership to take EMI through the next phase of its necessary transformation.”








  • Michael P. Scott says:

    OMG. I spent a lifetime (it seemed like SEVERAL lifetimes) in corporate Uhmurika trying NOT to write such drivel.
    For the most part it’s impossible to stop the bafflegarb by executives who not only like to hear themselves talk, but, as this buffoon has done, QUOTE themselves (“As I said in the press release (attached here)…”).
    One great boss once told wrote, herself, “One’s ability to think is reflected in one’s ability to write, just as one’s ability to write reflects one’s ability to think.”
    With Sister Mary Lawrence Hallagan’s words as precursor, I predict this guy will last far too long. He can’t write. Ergo: He can’t think.
    Such folk always rise to the top and stay there.
    I urge you all to read a great book, “Death Sentences,” in the event you haven’t had enough of weasel words and phrases.