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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
EMI signs new music chief
The Spice Girls
The Spice Girls: formerly big money earners for EMI
Ken Berry, the man credited with signing the Spice Girls, has been elbowed out in a boardroom shake-up at troubled music giant EMI.

Mr Berry became the highest-paid music executive in Europe with a salary of 2m when he moved to EMI in 1992, when the company bought Virgin Records.

In a statement, EMI said Mr Berry had left the company "by mutual consent".

According to a report in the Financial Times, his departure was a result of the group's failure to grow in the United States.

He has been replaced as head of recorded music by former Polygram president Alain Levy.

The move is a month after EMI reported sales of recorded music had been weaker than expected and that full-year profits would drop 20%.

Global slump

Mr Berry's departure comes at a time when global music sales are falling at an unprecedented rate.

Kylie Minogue
Kylie: Number one
According to latest figures, only the UK and France saw an increase in sales of CDs and cassettes in the first half of 2001, with sales in the United States, which accounts for 40% of the world market, down 5%.

Overall global sales were down 5%.

In the past year, EMI has seen its stock market value fall from nearly 10bn to 1.9bn.

The company said its trading expectations had not changed since its September forecast.

'Leadership skills'

Mr Levy is credited with building Polygram into the world's biggest music company, developing the careers of artists such as Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow and U2.

He also led the company's expansion into film with such productions as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Trainspotting.

EMI is the world's third-largest record company, with a claimed market share of 14%.

Its artists include The Rolling Stones, Mariah Carey and Kylie Minogue, currently number one in the UK singles chart.

EMI chairman Eric Nicoli said Mr Levy brings a "unique blend of creative, commercial and leadership skills to take the business forward to the next level."

EMI shares were down nearly 2% at 272.5 on the news.

See also:

03 Oct 01 | New Media
EMI gives music to web rival
28 Sep 01 | Business
Music market faces global slump
25 Sep 01 | Business
EMI shares dive on profit warning
31 Jul 01 | New Media
Negotiators join web royalty row
09 Aug 01 | Business
Counting the cost of a hit
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