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EMI rejigs digital unit, waves goodbye to ex-Google CIO

Douglas Merrill in and out in under a year

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EMI Music split with its digital head yesterday after the troubled record company decided to move the unit he oversaw into its main business operations.

Ex-Google CIO Douglas Merrill joined the firm less than a year ago. Terra Firma boss Guy Hands, whose private equity company bought the record label for close to $3.5bn in May 2007, hired Merrill as EMI’s digital strategy boss last April.

EMI has promoted Cory Ondrejka to a newly-created role of exec veep of digital marketing. He had been Merrill’s number two under the firm’s digital unit.

Ondrejka, who co-founded Second Life, joined EMI as senior vice president of digital strategy in June 2008.

The company said that while digital music sales now pulled in more than a fifth of all its revenues, it no longer seemed necessary to run a separate digital unit.

Instead it will be folded into EMI’s main biz ops in a move that some might see as the latest kneejerk reaction by the firm’s management to cut costs.

Meanwhile, Hands – whose investment has shrunk by half over the past year – stood down from running day-to-day operations at EMI in February.

A full copy of an internal memo sent round to employees yesterday detailing EMI's latest business rejig is available over at All Things Digital. ®

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