Google CIO Bolts for Music LabelBy Reuters | Posted 04-02-2008
Google has lost another member of its executive team as CIO Douglas Merrill is leaving to join music company EMI.
EMI said in a statement on Wednesday that as president of its digital music business, Merrill will head a new global function including digital strategy, technology and business development.
"I have two passions. One is creating platforms and tools that make it easier for consumers to achieve their goals. The other is music," Merrill said.
Merrill takes up his post on April 28 and will be based at EMI Music's Los Angeles offices in California.
The world's fourth-largest music label, based in London, is home to top selling artists such as Coldplay and is the distributor of the Beatles back catalogue.
Google spokesman Matt Furman confirmed Merrill had left the Web search leader four years after joining the company. Merrill rose to manage all internal engineering and technical support globally for the Silicon Valley company.
"We wish him the best," Furman said.
EMI was publicly traded in London until last year, when it was taken off the market by private equity group Terra Firma in a 2.4 billion pound deal to restructure the label.
Earlier this year, the ailing company, which has been hit by online piracy, falling CD sales and a poor release schedule, announced plans to cut up to 2,000 jobs. The plan to rebuild EMI by boosting online sales has proved controversial with some of its biggest acts.
Artists under contract with EMI include Coldplay, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue. But acts like Radiohead and singer Paul McCartney have quit the company. EMI has struggled in the United States behind dominant Universal Music Group, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group in album market share.
Merrill was one of a dozen vice presidents in Google's high-profile engineering division. He functioned one level below Google's 14-member executive management group and was one of the 50 or so highest ranking executives at Google.
He is one of a small but growing trickle of senior managers to leave Google, a company that has had few executive defections in the years following its successful initial public offering in 2004 but has seen its momentum slow more recently.
Merrill's biography at Google identifies him as helping to lead Google's IPO and related regulatory approvals. He formerly worked as a senior vice president at financial services company Charles Schwab, where he managed data security and operations.
The former Google executive previously headed the information security practice at Price Waterhouse and before that was a computer researcher for the RAND Corp.