by Meridith Levinson

What Did EMI Have to Do to Get Douglas Merrill to Leave Google?

Apr 02, 20082 mins

The online world is buzzing with the news that Douglas Merrill is leaving Google, where he’s served as CIO and vice president of engineering.

Douglas Merrill

It’s no wonder. Merrill’s departure from Google is kind of a big friggin deal. For one thing, it’s not just any company he’s saying farewell to. It’s the almighty Google, loved and loathed for its search engine that has turned industries like retailing and publishing on their heads. It’s also the company with what is arguably the most highly valued stock ever. (It’s currently trading at $464.57.)

For another thing, Merrill is taking a big new job in an industry that’s both glamorous and in deep trouble: EMI Music, home of such artists as The Beastie Boys and The Beach Boys, hired the wunderkind as president of its digital business. In his new role, which he begins on April 28 in Los Angeles, Merrill will be in charge of “a new global function which brings together for the first time leadership responsibility for all of the company’s digital strategy, innovation, business development, supply chain and global technology activities,” according to the press release EMI issued announcing his hire.

What I want to know is how much EMI had to pay Merrill—who, I might add, bears a striking resemblance in the photo above to the actor Ron Livingston (famous for his role in the cult classic Office Space and for playing Carrie Bradshaw’s beau Jack Berger on Sex & The City)—to buy him out of all the Google stock I suspect he’s leaving on the table *and* to get him to move from a powerful and profitable company to an industry that’s been crushed by technology.

What’s your take on this news that’s got everyone’s tongue wagging?