Contrary to last week’s press speculation [WAMN: 24-Jan-03], the predicted management upheaval at Bertelsmann-owned music mammoth BMG has turned out to be structural rather than personal.

Out goes the old geographic structure that saw the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America run as disparate regions. In its place there will be four new operating groups:

Label Group, responsible for music publishing activities and recording brands such as Arista, Jive/Zomba and RCA.

Territory Management, with Thomas Stein previously head of BMG’s European arm responsible for the German, Swiss and Austrian markets – a role the group insists is not a demotion.

Corporate Centre, within which former Asia-Pacific boss Tim Prescott will assume the new appointment of vice-president marketing.

Office of the Chairman.

According to BMG chairman/ceo Rolf Schmidt-Holz: “This structure allows our creative executives to be closer to artists while allowing us to better support our creative executives.”

But some analysts believe the shake-up also suggests a significant subtext. Specifically that it would facilitate a joint venture or business alliance with EMI, with looser ties than those that caused the planned merger between the two giants in 2001 to founder on competition grounds.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff