PHILADELPHIA -- Philly Pops artistic director Peter Nero will step down in 2013 after more than three decades as the group's leader and most recognizable face.

Under the terms of the deal approved by a bankruptcy judge Thursday, Nero will turn over the rights to the group's name upon his departure. But Nero could regain control of the ensemble if any severance payments are missed.

The Philly Pops called Nero's contract too expensive and sought to severe ties as it dealt with the fallout from a bankruptcy filing by its then-parent organization, the Philadelphia Orchestra.

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