Page last updated at 11:53 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

EMI Music names ex-ITV chief Charles Allen as chairman

Sign outside EMI offices in London
EMI's is now the smallest of the major UK record labels

Troubled record company EMI has named former ITV boss Charles Allen as its new chairman.

Mr Allen was already non-executive chairman at the firm, whose artists include Lily Allen, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry and Coldplay.

EMI also said chief executive Elio Leoni-Sceti would leave at the end of the month after two-and-a-half years.

EMI, which had annual losses of £1.75bn, has been hit by illegal downloading and falling album sales.

'Great business'

It is not clear who will replace the outgoing chief executive, who said: "My job here is now done and it is time for me to move on".

Mr Allen praised the work of Mr Leoni-Sceti, who he said had done "a great job".

"Our goals for EMI Music remain the same. I will support and guide the group's strong team, keep EMI's focus on creativity... and deliver a digital platform," he said.

"This is a great business - our task is to ensure it has a great future."

EMI at the centre of a legal dispute between private equity owner Terra Firma and US bank Citigroup.

Terra Firma is seeking billions in damages linked to its £4bn purchase of EMI in 2007.

Its boss Guy Hands accuses the bank of inflating the price of the firm by not revealing that the only other bidder, Cerberus Capital Management, had withdrawn.

Citigroup is contesting the claim, saying it will defend its role in the proceedings "vigorously".

Job cuts

Lily Allen
Lily Allen is among EMI's artists

EMI is now the smallest of the four major record labels, and has launched a turn-around plan to try to cut costs and boosting internet sales to compete against the likes of Universal and Warner.

It has also cut about 2,000 jobs but lost some of its acts, including Radiohead, in the row that followed. It plans further cutbacks.

Its most recent annual loss, in the year to March 31 2009 results was one of the biggest ever losses on a private equity investment.

EMI was sold at the height of the private equity buyout bubble in 2007. The business has been battered by its high debt levels and a weak performance as record companies struggle to make cash .

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