Music Label EMI poaches Google Executive

Guy Hands has recruited a senior US Google Executive to head the EMI digital music strategy as the record label tries to diversify and look for greener pastures, out of the traditional CD market.

Douglas Merrill was Google's Chief Information Officer and spearheaded Google's floatation four years ago and will now help EMI justify the £3.2 billion that Private equity group Terra Firma forked out to acquire EMI.

He will oversee transition of EMI from a standard major record company to one which puts the internet and digital distribution at the top of the Agenda.

Mr Hands announced that EMI would give out widgets which will allow music fans to stream EMI-sourced music and videos on their own web pages and on their social network profiles.

Merill is the latest in a number of high profile Google defections which saw several vice presidents, senior managers and engineers leave the search engine company and move to smaller companies, notably Facebook.

EMI, whose artists include Coldplay and Kylie Minogue, has plans to reduce its head count by 2000, in a bid to save up to £200 million this year.