Capitol Records president/CEO Hale Milgrim Thursday night strongly denied persistent rumors within the music community that his regime is in trouble.

Rumors have circulated that Milgrim would be offered his own boutique label or a marketing post at EMI Records Group North America as a way to buy out his five-year contract after Charles Koppelman’s ascension to chairman of the North American operation April 1.

Koppelman was named chairman of EMI Records Group North America, overseeing the various labels, distribution and manufacturing functions formerly under the command of Capitol/EMI’s ex-CEO Joe Smith.

Milgrim, speaking at a dinner to introduce new and current releases to Los Angeles press, acknowledged that he has talked to Koppelman recently about the tide of rumors that he would be departing.

He admitted his past relationship with Koppelman had been “competitive”; Koppelman previously ran SBK, Chrysalis and EMI Records, which are other divisions of Thorn/EMI’s North American operation. But Milgrim took pains to emphasize that they now have “a partnership,” that they were speaking weekly and both were committed to Milgrim’s philosophy of artist development.

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