Merck Leaves Sir Elton’s Team

There’s still no news on whether Merck Mercuriadis is leaving or staying with the troubled Sanctuary Music Group, but he’s definitely standing down from Sir Elton John’s Twenty-First Artists management team.

A press release put out late afternoon October 27 by Gary Farrow of The Corporation, the flamboyant star’s PR company, says Mercuriadis is stepping down by “mutual agreement.”

It also says Mercuriadis is continuing with Sanctuary as manager of acts including Axl Rose and Morrissey, although it doesn’t say for how long.

Speculation that Mercuriais would be leaving Sanctuary to align himself with Irving Azoff’s and Howard Kaufman’s Front Line Management began at the end of August.

At the time, he promised a statement to clarify the situation but, two months later, there’s still no word on what he’s planning to do.

His role on Sir Elton’s team will be going to former record company exec Clive Banks, who will look after the UK and the rest of the world, while Johnny Barbis will be handling things Stateside.

Frank Presland and Keith Bradley started Twenty-First Artists Limited six years ago and sold it to Sanctuary for £16 million (then US$30.1 million) in the spring of 2005.

As part of the agreement, Presland and Bradley both signed five-year employment contracts with Sanctuary and Sir Elton inked a new five-year management deal.

In May, Presland moved up to become Sanctuary’s chief exec, after company founder Andy Taylor was dumped from that position because of irregularities in the company’s accounts.

John Gammon