LONDON (Hypebot) â€“ In a move designed to strengthen its struggling A&R operation, EMI has appointed former President of Universal Island Nick Gatfield as President of A&R EMI Music Labels, North America and UK. All the companyâ€™s label heads in those territories will report directly to him.
Gatfield has been known as an agent of change at Universal Island where he organized a turnaround for the label and oversaw one of the UK's most successful domestic repertoires selling 32 million albums worldwide since 2002 including five million in the US. Artist signings since he became head in 2001 include Amy Winehouse, Keane, Mika, The Fratellis, McFly, Busted, Sugababes, The Feeling, Robyn and Sam Sparro.
From the press release:
From 1993 to 1998, Gatfield worked in Los Angeles for PolyGram, then the world's leading music group that was merged into Universal in 1998. At PolyGramâ€™s Polydor Records, where he became president, he presided over successful signings such as the platinum-selling Tonic and the Badlees and also reinvigorated the labelâ€™s catalogue business. In 1998 he received the Corporate Luminary Award from the American Society of Young Musicians. He was also made responsible for PolyGramâ€™s music publishing operation in the US in 1998. Gatfield began his business career at EMI Records in the UK.
Guy Hands, executive chairman of EMI, said: "As well as developing some of todayâ€™s most popular artists and music around the world, Nick has also demonstrated his talents for embracing and delivering change. At Universal Island he has led a complete turnaround of the label in both creative and financial terms and built it into the most successful domestic repertoire label in the UK. I am delighted that Nick is joining EMI and I believe the combination of Nick Gatfield and Douglas Merrill working together will enable EMI to reposition itself in new music."
Gatfield said: "A&R has always been at the heart of EMI and its labels and the company has an incredibly strong track record in signing and developing some of the most innovative artists in the world. It is also a company that is leading the most ambitious transformation of the music industry. My goal is to nurture that culture of creativity and change, working in true partnership with the talented artists and A&R people at EMI. In addition I am extremely excited about EMIâ€™s determination to embrace a new way of working with artists that recognises both the importance of the history of the labels but also the importance of new technologies."