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COMPANY TOWN | DEALS

Contract Renewal Expected

January 30, 1998|Chuck Philips

EMI Group is about to renew the contract of Jim Fifield, president and chief executive of the British recording conglomerate, which is home to such pop stars as Garth Brooks, Janet Jackson and the Spice Girls. Representatives of Fifield and EMI declined comment, but sources say the 59-year-old executive is slated to sign a multimillion-dollar pact to run the company until 2002. Fifield's job had been rumored to be in jeopardy since May, when EMI Group Chairman Colin Southgate authorized the closing of two New York labels launched by Fifield and fired more than 150 employees, including several top members of Fifield's executive team. Ken Berry, who was rumored to be in line to replace Fifield later this year, will retain his title as president of EMI Recorded Music and will continue to oversee domestic and international operations of its Virgin and Capitol units. Berry has enlisted Arista executive Roy Lott to run EMI's U.S. arm, sources said. Capitol Records President Gary Gersh, who was rumored to be leaving when his contract runs out in April, is negotiating a new deal and is expected to continue to lead the Hollywood-based label into the next century. A representative for London-based EMI Group denied recent industry speculation that Southgate is preparing to step down or that the corporation is for sale.

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