Exec to oversee merger with Columbia House

NEW YORK — Scott Flanders has been appointed to oversee the merger between CDnow Inc. and Columbia House and will become chairman and CEO of the new company.

CDnow is publicly traded. Columbia House is a joint venture between Time Warner and Sony Corp. of America. The two groups, which sell music and videos online, announced plans to combine in July and should complete the merger by the end of this year. Until then, Flanders will work with Columbia House, which is currently undergoing a massive revamp.

“Columbia House is in the midst of a major transformation prior to this merger, preparing it for the next century,” Flanders told Daily Variety. He described heavy investments for better processing requests, streamlining direct mailings, consolidating back office functions and other improvements.

Flanders was formerly chairman and CEO of Telestreet.com, an online vendor of wireless products and services. Prior to that he was the president of Macmillan Publishing USA, the world’s largest computer and reference publisher.

The merger will create a major entertainment, e-commerce and direct marketing company. The new group will have a 12 member board of directors composed of Flanders, four members each from Time Warner and Sony, CDnow’s president and CEO Jason Olim and two independent directors. Time Warner and Sony will each own 37% of the merged company and CDnow shareholders will own the remaining 26%.

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