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Emiel Petrone, CE Formats Pioneer, 61

Emiel N. Petrone, executive VP of Philips Electronics Corporate Alliance Group, who played a key role in the introduction of new entertainment technologies ranging from Compact Disc to DVD, died Aug. 23 at Cedar Sinai Medical Center, here, after a brief illness. He was 61.

During a career at Philips and PolyGram spanning more than 30 years, Petrone was a key figure in the entertainment industry and played a significant role in consummating agreements for major film studios and record labels for new technologies.

During the launch of DVD, Petrone worked alongside top movie industry executives to establish DEG: the Digital Entertainment Group, a consortium of nearly 50 content providers, technology companies and retailers to support DVD and other new digital formats. Until his death, he served as chairman of the DEG.

Petrone was a pioneer in the consumer electronics, music, home video and multimedia industries, and his focus on cooperation between the hardware and software industries became a model for successful format introductions.

In 1982, Petrone headed the U.S. team that introduced the compact disc digital-audio system for PolyGram, helping to establish PolyGram as the leading U.S. supplier of compact disc titles. During that time, Petrone created the Compact Disc Group of America, bringing together 40 leading consumer electronics manufacturers and record companies to develop strategies to increase consumer awareness of the audio CD.

Petrone is survived by his wife of 26 years, Marilyn; his mother, Mary; a brother, Frank; a sister, Anne; and a nephew Peter Cicale, Jr. A native of New York, Petrone had lived in Los Angeles for 32 years.

A memorial service for Petrone was held in Los Angeles in late August. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the T.J. Martell Foundation In Memory of Emiel N. Petrone. The foundation’s number is (212) 833-4743.