Cold Chisel Co-Manager John O’Donnell Named New EMI Boss

21 February 2013 | 9:46 am | Scott Fitzsimons

The music executive has worked at both EMI and Sony previously

Universal-owned EMI have today announced that veteran music executive and Cold Chisel manager John O'Donnell has been named the label's Managing Director.

The latest appointment since former head Mark Poston left and the company was integrated into Universal, O'Donnell will oversee the EMI, Capitol and Virgin imprints. He will be based in Sydney's Universal office, which is now also home to EMI.

A former music journalist and the founder of Murmur, O'Donnell left Sony to become EMI's Australia and New Zealand CEO in 2002, a position he held until 2008. Since then he worked on his own consulting business and co-managed Cold Chisel with John Watson, guiding the band through their record-breaking recent tours.

Today O'Donnell said that it “was impossible to resist the opportunity to return to EMI”, which he described as a “full-service music company with a vision for the future.”

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Universal's Australian head George Ash said, “John's legacy of success at EMI, of finding and helping to develop so many incredible artists, speaks for itself and for him to come back to the label he helped to build into one of Australia's best is not only exciting but critical to our vision for EMI.”

He said that Universal aimed to “refresh the entrepreneurial edge” for EMI.

The appointment also has the blessing of the Universal Music Group's global Chairman and CEO Max Hole, who added, “Everyone who has ever worked with John knows that he is synonymous with great artists and great music. Developing and investing further in our Australian artists is a key international goal for us. I'm thrilled that John has agreed to return to EMI to play such a crucial role.”

There has been major upheaval at EMI since the takeover was put into effect, with an estimated 30 percent of their local workforce made redundant. A lot the PR work for upcoming releases from high priority artists such as Birds Of Tokyo and Gold Fields has been outsourced for the immediate future. Their Twitter account has been dormant for three weeks.