Our clients

EMI Music

Private equity firm Terra Firma bought the troubled music giant EMI Music in late 2007 amidst severely declining retail conditions and much scepticism about any chance of a successful turnaround. Nevertheless, in January 2008 Terra Firma announced the global restructuring of the business across 26 countries, with the loss of 1500-2000 jobs and cost reductions of £200 million. This feat was to be achieved within six months and without disrupting the everyday running of the business.

As specialists in major corporate restructuring programmes Independent was parachuted in to facilitate the transformation of the organisation. A complex and challenging project, successful outcomes included the trebling of operating profits and securing job reductions without business disruption or individual claims.

HR requirements and achievements

  • Implementing effective Management Information - as a priority once the team was on-site, they liaised with EDF's in-house Business Architecture department to create a bespoke system with on-screen dashboard that produced vital data for measuring, monitoring and analysing recruitment performance. The dashboard highlights the status of each vacancy across all business units as well as key statistics such as time to offer and time to hire. It allows the team to see the proportional split of different candidate sourcing methods and plan ahead. It provides a clear picture of forthcoming vacancies and avoids the need to use costly agencies on a reactive basis. Multiple vacancies can then be advertised directly in the press rather than ad hoc. Critically, the Management Information from the dashboard is also used to inform senior management decisions and engage them with the recruitment process as a whole.

  • Global organisational restructure - one of the first tasks of the restructuring programme was to appoint highly experienced senior leaders at board level who would drive change through the organisation. Once in place, this operating group set about changing the business model from one with a geographical focus, where each country within the EMI Group managed its affairs autonomously, to a global functional matrix. This was critical to minimising waste and achieving efficiency throughout the business.

  • HR restructure - the new structure of the organisation was mirrored within the HR function itself, with global business partners taking the place of HR managers. An HR Service Centre with improved global HR data collation and reporting was also created to improve efficiency.

  • Head count reduction - A key element of the EMI restructuring programme was an almost 40% reduction in head count over a six month period. This involved establishing appropriate consultative mechanisms with UK employee representatives. Across the rest of Europe attention was also paid to the formation and agreement of social plans as well as extensive negotiations with Works Councils. A key feature of the programme was a commitment to regular communication and consultation so that employees were kept fully informed of developments. At the peak of the change programme, some meetings were held on a daily basis. All employees were given the chance to apply and be selected for roles in the new, streamlined organisation, feedback was given to successful and unsuccessful employees and support mechanisms such as outplacement were also put in place. As a result, job reductions were achieved within the specified time frame and to the agreed budget and critically, without individual claims.

  • Cultural transformation - in an industry where senior executives had been receiving substantial remuneration packages without any reference to personal performance, the introduction of a global performance management system was an early priority for the new company leadership.

  • Vision and values - communicating a return to EMI's core vision and values was an essential part of the new drive for efficiency, cohesion and improved performance, with the core vision focused on re-establishing EMI as the premier consumer-led global music company.

  • Talent management - the implementation of an online Global Talent Review, which reviewed the top 70 leaders across the globe over a six week period, accelerated the deployment of the best talent. High Potentials were identified to provide a global senior management succession plan and talent pools were created of individuals who could best continue EMI's transformation and drive the development of a new digital business.

  • Global reward strategy – This accurately reflected market conditions as well as the revised business model. Innovative board packages and long term incentive plans were established to encourage staff retention and stability and meet the business needs of EMI's private equity owners. A global levelling project was undertaken to ensure consistent benchmarking, while contractual arrangements, rewards and benefits were harmonised against external best practice.