Ex-Blair aide joins EMI to lead illegal download fight

Record company EMI has appointed a former aide to Tony Blair as its top UK lobbyist.

Ayesha Hazarika becomes vice-president of government affairs following the recent exit of Sara John from the company, whose artists include Coldplay and Gorillaz. It is not known whether John has taken another job.

Hazarika will report to EMI's New York-based senior vice-president Victoria Basseti. She will push for tighter controls on download websites and tougher penalties for people who download music illegally.

Hazarika has worked in the press office at the Ministry for Agriculture, the Home Office and 10 Downing Street. She was also chief press officer to Patricia Hewitt when the latter was trade and industry secretary from 2001 to 2005.

Hazarika joined EMI in early 2005 as business co-ordinator to group chair Eric Nocoli, now group CEO. In April 2005, she was seconded to the Labour Party to work on the Prime Minister's general election campaign.

Hazarika has also built up a significant following as a stand-up comedian.

John joined EMI as vice-president of government affairs in 2002. She previously spent five years as an adviser to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.Sources close to EMI said John had ‘decided she wanted to go off and do other things'.

A spokesman added: ‘After four successful years with EMI, Sara decided to leave last December.'

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