Executive Turntable: WMG Veteran Taking (Temp) Reins of Deezer; Merlin’s Promotion-palooza; New Mega House President

It’s time for another spindle around the Executive Turntable, Billboard’s comprehensive(ish) compendium of promotions, hirings, exits and firings — and all things in between — across music. For a summary of all the goings-on at UMG, scroll to the bottom. For everything else, read on!

Deezer‘s search for a permanent replacement for the departing Jeronimo Folgueira is underway, but in the meantime the Paris-based streaming service has hired a ringer of sorts to keep the CEO seat warm. Stu Bergen, a 14-year veteran of Warner Music and longtime CEO of the label group’s international and global services division, has stepped in to serve as interim CEO until a new chief is found. Bergen, who left WMG in early 2021, has been a member of Deezer’s board of directors for more than a year and will remain there after the executive search is complete. “Stu’s in-depth knowledge of the music and digital industries, coupled with his tenure as a director on Deezer’s board, positions him perfectly to boost the company’s strategic direction and facilitate a seamless transition,” the company said this week, adding it believes Bergen is perfectly suited to guide them in its international expansion and boosting subscribers in key markets. The company recently posted positive financial results for 2023, with revenue up 7.4% to $524 million and an 11.5% increase in subscribers (thanks to business-to-business partnerships).

”I am honored to accept the interim CEO role at Deezer at this pivotal time,” Bergen said. “I am committed to strengthening the company’s values and driving its growth trajectory forward. With the dedicated team and clear objectives already in place, I am eager to lead us through this period of transition, ensuring the company is prepared for its ambitious future.”

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Merlin, the digital music licensing go-to for indies everywhere, announced an expansive run of promotions and role tweaks at the company. Over on the member and partner success teams, Emma Robinson ascends to senior director of member operations after six years of service; Daniele Yandel was promoted to senior manager of member operations after four years; four-year veteran Jo Danher is now senior manager of member relations; and Poppy Waring (seven years) and Shannon Bradley (three) both step up to senior manager of commercial partnerships. As for the finance fam, Vincent Moyo is promoted to director of commercial finance, four years in; Grace Styles approaches her three-year mark with a promotion to management accountant; Savannah Puleston bumps up to operations and events coordinator, nearly two years after joining Merlin. Did someone say data? Mili Payne (two years) is elevated to senior royalty coordinator and Tom White has been named senior coordinator of business analytics in Merlin’s reporting and insights team. Finally, Tolis Koutronas was elevated to senior developer of technology and business solutions, rewarding four years of enhancing Merlin’s infrastructure, while four-year staffer Katie Eckett is now senior manager of business and legal affairs.

NAMM, aka the National Association of Music Merchants, appointed AJ Zane as the trade org’s new director of technology. Zane’s many duties include running point on NAMM’s product and platform technology, cybersecurity, cloud engineering, infrastructure, corporate IT and a host of other responsibilities only a “career technologist” (NAMM president/CEO John Mlynczak’s words) could muster. “He brings a diverse background and experience that align with our commitment to stay at the forefront of technology and harness its power to propel our organization into the future,” Mlynczak said. Prior to NAMM, Zane was an engineering manager at real estate data management tool Measurable and before that was a technical principal at Veyo.

Haley Evans was elevated to the role of president at Mega House Music, a songwriter-producer management company and music publisher. She has worked her way up at Mega House over the last four years, guiding the careers of writing talents like Casey Smith (“Moral of the Story” by Ashe, “Cool” by Jonas Brothers), Gian Stone (“Stuck With You” by Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande), Caroline Pennell (“Past Life” by Trevor Daniel and Selena Gomez, “Everytime I Cry” by Ava Max), and Peter Fenn (“Nathan (still breathing)” by Fred Again.., “Slow Down” by Laufey). Evans also works across the Mega House’s full roster, helping with Monsters & Strangerz, Joe London, Sol Was and others. She manages rising folk artist Mon Rovia as well and has played a meaningful role in the company’s expansion into Nashville and Miami. In her new role, she will continue to report to co-CEOs David Silberstein and Jeremy Levin. –Kristin Robinson

Academy Music Group (AMG) appointed Liam Boylan as chief executive officer of the UK venue owner and operator. AMG’s roster of medium-sized venues across the country include O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, O2 Academy Birmingham and the soon-to-reopen O2 Academy Brixton. Boylan was previously stadium director at the legendary Wembley Stadium, and prior to that worked for years at SJM Concerts and Manchester Arena. “We’re delighted to welcome Liam to the AMG team and look forward to working with him,” said Denis Desmond, chairman of AMG. “He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the live industry and running major events. He will be a great asset.”

Concord Music Publishing hired Lüder Castringius for the newly created position of senior vp of legal and business affairs across Germany, Switzerland and Austria (GSA). In his new role, Castringius will play a “central role” in bolstering Concord’s interests in the sprawling region, remarked Duff Berschback, evp of legal and business affairs, who added: “The decision to create this position demonstrates our commitment to top-tier legal counsel and underscores our efforts to meet the rapidly evolving demands of the music market.” The Berlin-based exec arrives from BMG, where he rose to senior vp of business and legal affairs EU during a 15-year run at the company. Castringius reports directly to Berschback, who is based in Nashville, but will also work closely with Tina Funk, managing director of Concord Music Publishing, GSA. “We appreciate his sensitivity, his fighting spirit, and his commitment to shaping the character and roster of the publishing house… and ensuring the protection of our creators’ rights,” Funk said.

RADIO, RADIO: Audacy announced that svp of digital audio content Tim Clarke will depart at the end of the month, with his role — leading consumer-facing properties such as Audacy.com and the company’s radio app — being phased out and duties folded into other teams. Clarke joined Audacy in March 2021 as svp of market manager before quickly ascending to his current position. Prior to Audacy, he spent 12 years at Cox Media, rising to vp of audience and content for his last three. In a staff memo obtained by Radio Insight, chief digital officer J.D. Crowley called Clarke a “wonderful creative executive, a great friend and colleague to so many of us.”

Big Loud Rock, which specializes in big loud rock records, upped its visual marketing game with the appointment of Paul Wright as vp of creative strategy. Based in Los Angeles, he reports up to Lloyd Norman, svp of BLR, which is the alt-rock imprint of Big Loud Records. Wright joins from Red Bull Records, where as director of creative marketing he worked with Blxst, Albert Hammond Jr, AWOLNATION and others on tailored content. Prior to RBR, Wright racked up time at Nettwerk Music Group and Hopeless Records. Elsewhere at BLR, recent new hires and promotions include Dave Barbis as svp of promotion, Nicole Rich as director of promotion & publicity, Delaine Halpin as project marketing manager, Colleen Kennedy as operations manager and Bella DiDomenico as executive assistant to BLR president Greg Thompson. “We are thrilled to have an executive like Paul join the Big Loud Rock team and also to recognize the growth of our staff and the overall team building Big Loud Rock,” Thompson said.

Absolute Label Services added three new members to its London-based team. Joining as senior label manager is Dominic Squire, most recently senior international marketing manager at BMG. The independent services company also welcomed Jimmy Smith, formerly of Platoon, as a campaign coordinator. Finally, Finn Peat is now part of ALS’ digital right team in his first music industry gig.

Fallon Nell

Outback Presents promoted Fallon Nell to vp of booking, overseeing all Outback artist bookings for country, comedy and music events. Nell launched her career at Outback as the company’s first intern, before joining as a promoter representative in the company’s comedy department. She later transitioned to artist management at Alliance Artists (now Red Light Management Atlanta) before launching Brothers Management. Nell returned to Outback Presents in 2023, serving as senior booking manager. –Jessica Nicholson

NASHVILLE NOTES: Music City-based executive Kelly Bolton joined Warner Records as vp of A&R, focusing on country but reporting to Warner Records’ LA-based CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck. She arrives after more than five years at Tape Room Music, where she served as svp of A&R … Black River Records elevated Bill Mackay to vp of national promotion. Mackay joined the label in 2012 after more than 30 years in the industry, including stops at MCA, Sony and Stroudavarious Records, plus 16 years as a country radio programmer in markets including Pittsburgh, San Jose and San Diego. Congratulate Mackay at bmacky@blackriverent.com.

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) welcomed Julian Teixeira to the family as an agent in the music touring department. He arrives from The Bullitt Agency and brings a client roster that includes Dubfire, Chris Stussy, Dennis Cruz and Kölsch, among other. The George Washington University grad is based in CAA’s. New York offices.

ICYMI:


john janick

Following the curtain-raising of the Interscope Capitol Labels Group, chairman/CEO John Janick (pictured) announced more additions to his C-suite team (namely Gary Kelly and Jason Kawejsza), and a few days later fleshed out the structure of the new company … then UMG’s more East Coast-y labels reorganized under the new Republic Corps banner under Monte Lipman … and finally a member of the Corps, Mercury, announced several promotions and hires.

Last Week’s Turntable: Warner Chappell’s China Role

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