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Poleman is said to still be on the fence regarding the position being offered by Terra, which would make him part of a newly created think tank for a global music-business strategy.
I.B. BAD RECOUNTS THE SAGA OF GUY HANDS AND THE THREE (OR FOUR) AMIGOS
Caine Is Out, Mann Is In and Poleman Is Wavering
Some are applauding Guy Hands for thinking outside the box in his attempt to install People magazine Publisher Paul Caine, Clear Channel programming veteran Tom Poleman and producer/writer Billy Mann as key components of EMI’s new team, while others are asking what Hands was smoking.

According to those in the know, a fourth executive with an extensive major label background was earmarked by Hands to be EMI’s worldwide COO, and it was he who handpicked the three, with Mann as the creative cog in the N.A. corporate hierarchy, Caine in a presidential role with a focus on developing new revenue streams and Poleman being given an undetermined title. But Hands changed his mind about hiring this unnamed executive, then Caine dropped out, leaving the original plan in disarray.

Negotiations continue between Terra Firma/EMI and attorney Gary Stiffelman, who’s repping Poleman, while Clear Channel (read: Lee/Bain) seeks to persuade the programmer to stay, further motivated by Z100’s #1 share in the New York Summer Arbitron survey under his leadership.

Poleman is said to still be on the fence regarding the position being offered by Terra, which would involve working in an advisory capacity concerning marketing and distribution and those possible applications to a new business model, as part of a newly created think tank for a global music-business strategy.

This approach is consistent with the private-equity firm’s modus operandi: when it acquires a company, it seeks to recruit experts in and around the industry the new acquisition is part of in a concerted effort to understand the business it’s entering. For example, Hands recently appointed Lord John Birt to the EMI Supervisory Board. Lord Birt, who formerly advised Prime Minister Tony Blair and worked as Director-General of the BBC, was tapped for his experience in managing creative business at the highest level. He also brought in ex-Virgin Money head Mark Hodgkinson, who turned his former company around, making it the U.K.’s fifth fastest-growing business, for his tech and entrepreneurial skills.

In this case, Poleman’s deep understanding of marketing, branding and radio is his drawing card. But if the deal falls apart, say those close to the action, it will primarily be because the job being offered lacks a more definitive operating role in the new EMI superstructure, compared to Poleman’s present post. That could leave Mann (who is also being represented by Stiffelman) as the only one of the three to accept Hands’ offer.

This series of false starts could put Roger Ames right back in the running for that worldwide COO post; tellingly, Ames was at Hands’ side last week as the new CEO visited EMI’s offices in New York, L.A. and Nashville. But the veteran reportedly has detractors within Terra Firma, who have been whispering in Hands’ ear that Ames is not a team player. Some theorists theorize that their badmouthing occurred after Ames told these music-biz neophytes the grim truth about present-day economics, and not liking what they heard, they decided to kill the messenger.

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