Guy Hands, one of the hardest taskmasters in UK private equity, is losing some top executives at his Terra Firma private equity house. Those leaving Terra Firma – including Chris Roling, Riaz Punja and Ashley Unwin – were appointed by Hands to senior positions within EMI, the music group he acquired last year for £4bn. Their departures were seen by some as a purge by Hands of those responsible for a difficult deal. But people close to the situation said their departure was due more to the grim outlook for the buyout industry than a direct consequence of difficulties in turning round EMI, which accounts for about 30% of Terra Firma’s last two funds. While EMI’s performance has been boosted by the resilience of its music publishing arm and £200m of cost cuts, Terra Firma executives are unlikely to gain much in bonuses or carried interest in the short term. Separately, the FT examines the background to one of the last big pre-credit crunch deals.