NY Post: The Rumors Fly At EMI
June 4, 2009 at 4:51 AM (PT)
The relationship between EMI chief ELIO LEONI-SCETI and his boss, TERRA FIRMA's GUY HANDS, is so strained that whispers around the record label's halls are that LEONI-SCETI could be gone before the year's out, The NEW YORK POST has learned. "Though LEONI-SCETI and HANDS used to be chummy -- their families went on holiday to ITALY together in MARCH, for instance -- multiple sources inside EMI or who have working relationships with the label said the pair recently had a falling-out. The crux of the friction centers on RONN WERRE, the recently named Chief Operating Officer for EMI NORTH AMERICA.
"According to two sources with knowledge of the situation, during contract renegotiations HANDS directed LEONI-SCETI to make WERRE a 'take-it-or-leave-it' offer, figuring that the music industry is in such disarray that he would jump at any new deal. WERRE not only rebuffed the offer, but also got himself a bigger job at rival SONY MUSIC.
"That so surprised and incensed HANDS that sources said he told LEONI-SCETI to do whatever he had to do to get WERRE back. Sources said LEONI-SCETI chafed at the directive, both because he was acting like a good foot soldier in carrying out HANDS' initial directive and also because he didn't want to go back to a supposed underling with hat-in-hand.
"Knowing that he had all the leverage, WERRE said he would come back only if EMI doubled his previous salary and DOUGLAS MERRILL, the GOOGLE executive EMI tapped to run its digital operations, was pushed out, according to sources.
"MERRILL, who sources said had little support within the label anyway, left in MARCH after less than a year on the job. Sources said EMI also agreed to WERRE's salary demands, though precise details on his compensation package could not be obtained. However, as a result of the move, SONY MUSIC slapped EMI and WERRE with a breach-of-contract lawsuit, alleging that WERRE broke a signed three-year, $3 million contract to return to EMI."