Capitol Music Group forms as prexy/CEO ankles post

EMI Recorded Music chief Ken Berry is expected to announce today that Gary Gersh, prexy/CEO of Capitol Records, has ankled his post. Gersh is expected to be replaced by Roy Lott, deputy prexy of EMI Recorded Music, who in the interim will add the duties of label chief to his role overseeing the operation of the conglom’s Stateside presence.

Gersh’s ankling is expected to give way to the formation of the Capitol Music Group, where the labels operating under the new umbrella, such as Capitol Nashville, will report to Lott.

According to sources, Gersh’s exit was precipitated by the change in the organizational structure made recently, which had him report to Lott rather than directly to Berry as he previously had done.

Previously, none of the label chiefs in the EMI conglom, such as Virgin and Capitol, reported to Lott.

Lou Mann, senior veep and g.m. of Capitol, is expected to ascend to become Lott’s second-in-command in a move that sends a message of stability and continuity to Capitol artists and managers.

Mann, who has been the go-to guy at the label for five management regimes, had been expected to be in New York today to attend the Linda McCartney memorial, according to sources. But he remained in L.A. to be present for today’s restructuring announcement.

Sources said Gersh, who inked a one-year contract extension earlier this year and had been expected to leave the label before his pact expired (Daily Variety, June 18), felt the timing for an exit was right.

His exit, which ends a five-year run at the label, comes a week before EMI label chiefs head to Spain for a round of international meetings.

Gersh also felt that the change in corporate philosophy at EMI, which favored a mean and lean organization, would have undoubtedly impacted the label’s ability to effectively promote upcoming releases.

EMI execs countered that while Gersh’s Capitol is on a hot streak with the soundtrack to “Hope Floats,” and discs from Marcy Playground and Everclear, the label’s fortunes during Gersh’s run have not been consistently impressive and it was time for a change in leadership.

None of the parties could be reached for comment.

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