Ex-Google CIO Merrill leaves EMI after less than a year

Douglas Merrill, the former chief information officer at Google, has left his post as head of EMI Music’s digital division.

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Douglas Merrill, the former chief information officer at Google, has left his post as head of EMI Music’s digital division.

Merrill has spent less than one year in the job, and the reasons for his departure are as-yet undisclosed. When he was appointed in the EMI Music post last April, the move was seen as a statement of intent by the company to create a strong digital brand during times of falling sales of physical music formats.

Formerly chief information officer at Google between 2003 and 2008, Merrill was one of EMI’s highest profile appointments of an outsider since private equity firm Terra Firma acquired the company in 2007. Guy Hands, chief executive at Terra Firma, recently relinquished day-to-day control of the firm in favour of building investments.

EMI, whose roster of artists includes Coldplay and Kylie Minogue, has said the digital part of its business will no longer run as a separate operation. Digital sales account for over one fifth of the company’s revenue.

At EMI, Merrill oversaw the digital unit and relaunched its website in a bid to sell music online directly to consumers. During his tenure as CIO at Google, he oversaw global billing and revenue technology, along with internal engineering and support. His projects included the launch in 2006 of the Google Checkout online payment service.

EMI has now appointed Cory Ondrejka, formerly Merrill’s number two and the co-founder of Second Life, as executive VP of digital marketing. Elio Leoni-Sceti, chief executive at EMI Music, said Ondrejka would focus on “consumer understanding and analytics, content creation and digital marketing in order to strengthen the relationship and interaction between our artists and their fans".

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