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Roger Ames will take over EMI’s A&R operations in the U.K. and Ireland, replacing Tony Wadsworth, chairman-CEO of EMI Music U.K. and Ireland, who is ankling.

The unit has long been viewed as the backbone of the recorded music company as its U.K. signings have far outperformed U.S. acts.

Wadsworth has been with EMI in a variety of jobs over the past 26 years.

His departure is “part of the ongoing restructuring of EMI Music,” according to a statement from the company, which has been undergoing a shakeup since Guy Hands’ Terra Firma took over last year.

Ames, who has previously run Warner Music and Polygram, was appointed head of EMI’s North American units late last year.

Mike Clasper, a Terra Firma exec, will assume control of all non-A&R operations that previously reported to Wadsworth.

Wadsworth was named chairman- CEO of EMI Music U.K. & Ireland in 2002. He had been president of EMI Records U.K., where he oversaw the signings of Robbie Williams and Coldplay.

In 1993, he was managing director of Parlophone, and during his tenure, the label enjoyed success with acts such as Blur, Radiohead and Supergrass.

Wadsworth joined the company in 1982 and two years later took charge of EMI’s entry into the compact disc biz. From 1987-93 he was marketing director at the label.

Wadsworth was chairman of the Brit Awards from 2000-03 and last year became chairman of the British Phonographic Industry. He will relinquish that role.