"No one can dispute her passion for the music and her artists."
——industry insider


As Expected, Nancy Berry Out At Virgin, Life Goes On, Except With Fewer Parties
The other shoe, unh, Berry, dropped at Virgin Records.

In a not-unexpected development, EMI has removed Nancy Berry from her post as Virgin Music Group Worldwide's Vice Chairman, according to sources within the label. She had been with the company since 1979.

It was the first major move by the new rulers of EMI Recorded Music, Alain Levy and David Munns, who took office Oct. 15 after the ouster of Ken Berry (see hitsdailydouble. 10/15). Munns was in L.A. to inform the company of the changes, while Levy was ensconced in Europe analyzing the assets and liabilities of the company he inherited.

Said Levy: "We are grateful for Nancy's hard work and dedication over the years. She is a talented record executive who has made great contributions to the development of Virgin Records."

The 42-year-old Nancy Berry was reportedly informed of the decision last night, and the Virgin staff will be told today. She was working without a contract. The transition to high-level projects Nancy was working on, like the upcoming Lenny Kravitz and Mick Jagger releases, should be smooth as Co-Presidents Ray Cooper and Ashley Newton and promo head Michael Plen remain in place.

Ken Berry's demise was obviously caused by a lot more than his soon-to-be-ex-wife's behavior, though the U.K. tabloids seemed to thrive on reporting her misadventures. That included a well-publicized feud with the band Custom which led to the group's exit from the label when its lead singer claimed he was sexually harassed by the female exec.

A Detroit native, Nancy first met Ken Berry when she was 19 and he was in New York establishing a U.S. office for Richard Branson's Virgin label. She was working in a record store when Ken hired her as his secretary. An unlikely romance blossomed between the shy workaholic and the flamboyant rock chick, who started living together, then got married. The pair became wealthy when Virgin Records was sold to EMI in 1992, and Nancy was dubbed "the Hillary Clinton of the global recording business." They shared homes in London and a Beverly Hills mansion provided by EMI. The pair had been separated, and in the process of getting a divorce.

Nancy's power rose in the Virgin hierarchy, eventually landing her as Virgin Music Group Worldwide's Vice Chairman, where she coordinated international marketing campaigns for the likes of David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz and A Perfect Circle. She was also the point person for the much-criticized $100 million signing of Mariah Carey, and she oversaw the marketing campaign for the disastrous Glitter project.

A music industry insider said: "No one can dispute her passion for the music and her artists. She was a large part of Virgin U.S. and oversaw many successful worldwide releases."

Controversy continued to dog Nancy, though, when she was reported as the other woman in a marital split between actress Patsy Kensit and Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr. She was also linked romantically to Trent Reznor, though performers like Bowie declared her "a real rock & roll girl," and Jagger termed her "the Platinum Amex woman."

Added Ms. Berry: "It has been a great pleasure working at Virgin Records over so many years with such a range of great artists and people. I wish all my colleagues success in the future."

A colleague told a British paper: "She does work hard, and doesn't have much of a life outside work. She is very capable, but her style is old-fashioned now."