Manager continues with Axl Rose, Morrissey.

Merck Mercuriadis has split ties with Elton John. According to a statement issued on behalf of John's management company Twenty-First Artists, Mercuriadis has stepped down by "mutual agreement" from duties tending to the creative side of the veteran singer/songwriter's career.

As a result of the move, creative management services will be handled by Johnny Barbis in the United States, and Clive Banks in the United Kingdom and rest of the world.

Mercuriadis continues as an artist manager within Twenty-First Artists' parent company Sanctuary Group, overseeing artists including Axl Rose and Morrissey.

John turned to Mercuriadis -- formerly CEO of Sanctuary Records -- to manage the creative side of his career after John and his partners sold Twenty-First Artists to the Sanctuary Group for $30.1 million (Billboard, April 16).

John co-founded London-based Twenty-First with Frank Presland and Keith Bradley. Presland was appointed CEO of Sanctuary Group following Andy Taylor's dismissal from the post on May 26.