Former PolyGram chief executive, Alain Levy has been tapped to head the world's number three music group EMI. He replaces Ken Berry, who leaves the company today, three weeks after issuing a surprise profits warning.

Levy, who headed PolyGram until it was sold by it parent the Dutch electronics giant Philips in 1998, is expected to cut costs, stabilise the management team and bring in new acts.

During his time at PolyGram he acquired A&M and Island Records. Since leaving, Levy has continued to work closely with David Munns, who has worked both at EMI and PolyGram, and who was today appointed vice chairman of EMI Recorded Music with special responsibility for global marketing and human resources.

Levy's other recent activities have been less glittering and included online music retailer Boxman and the now defunct UK pay-per-view group Digital Broadcasting Company.

Berry had been expected to beef up the group with bands to take over the running from the Spice Girls and The Rolling Stones. But instead he was criticised for the hugely expensive signing of Mariah Carey while the company's biggest hit was a re-release of The Beatles No 1 hits.

In the last year EMI has seen its market value collapse from $14.5bn to $2.9bn. And its two take-over manoeuvres were both blocked by regulators.