Davis To Oversee Arista...
SmartMoney.com/Dow Jones Newswire]
Davis to Oversee Arista
February 3, 2004
Veteran music executive Clive Davis was named to an expanded role as
head of North American music operations at Bertelsmann AG's BMG, where his
new responsibilities will include overseeing the Arista Records label from
which he was famously ousted four years ago, Tuesday's Wall Street Journal
BMG is consolidating its music labels under one umbrella in North America
and handing the role of chairman and chief executive to Mr. Davis, as it
prepares to merge its recorded-music operations with those of rival Sony
Corp. Mr. Davis already oversees BMG's RCA and J Records labels; his new
duties will add oversight of the Arista and Jive labels.
Mr. Davis is credited with launching the careers of hit artists including
Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys.
Faced with dwindling sales and rampant piracy, the music industry has been
under the restructuring gun, prompting a new round of consolidation among
the five big players. Sony Music and BMG, which rank as the world's second-
and fifth-biggest music companies, respectively, announced a deal late last
year to merge their recorded-music operations.
Mr. Davis historically has had a rocky relationship with BMG. After founding
Arista in 1975, the 70-year-old executive sold the label to BMG in 1979. But
by late 1999, BMG's then-chief executive, Strauss Zelnick, was looking for
someone new to head the label, and Mr. Davis stepped down in 2000. Mr.
Zelnick subsequently left BMG and current CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz re-employed
Mr. Davis as chairman of a restructured RCA Music Group, overseeing the RCA
and J labels.
People close to BMG said Chief Executive Rolf Schmidt-Holtz had been
impressed by Mr. Davis's ability to turn around RCA Music Group in the past
two years. As part of his new responsibilities, Mr. Davis also will oversee
BMG Distribution and BMG Strategic Marketing.
Wall Street Journal Staff Reporter Merissa Marr contributed to this report.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
3 FEBRUARY 2004