EMI dealmakers to leave Terra Firma

Chris Rolling and Ashley Unwin will lose their jobs following a cash infusion at the troubled music group.

Two senior members of UK private equity firm Terra Firma will leave the firm following an unexpected cash infusion into troubled portfolio company EMI.

Senior managers Chris Roling and Ashley Unwin will lose their jobs at the UK buyout shop, a source close to the situation has confirmed. Roling will also leave his post as EMI’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer while Unwin will depart as the music group’s chief operating officer for the UK and North America.

François van der Spuy, another Terra Firma employee who worked on the EMI deal, will also leave the organisation.

Terra Firma declined to comment.

The UK private equity firm was forced to make an “equity cure” in EMI in September to meet the company’s debt obligations, according to a report in the Financial Times today. An unattributed source in the report said that EMI raised €250 million for the equity infusion from about 10 co-investors.  

EMI has confronted several problems since Terra Firma purchased the company last year for €6.2 billion. Citigroup has reportedly written down the value of its loans to EMI while encountering difficulty in the syndication market. The Guy Hands-led firm has also been in conflict with EMI’s pension trustees over varying calculations of the fund’s pension deficit.

Roling joined Terra Firma last year from ICI Paints, where he was senior vice president of finance. As managing director of portfolio businesses, Rolling’s responsibilities at the firm included pre- and post-acquisition operational planning and implementation.  

Before becoming managing director of talent last year at Terra Firma, Unwin was a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting.

Additional reporting by Toby Mitchenall