Mike Caren's promotion in July to his new position as head of worldwide A&R for Warner Music Group is the latest in a career-long rise at the company. Caren, 35, has been with WMG since he was in high school, initially hired by his mentor Craig Kallman to run Big Beat's rap marketing team. During the last 17 years he has signed numerous artists, including Trey Songz, T.I. and Flo Rida, and produced and written songs for the likes of Kanye West, Bruno Mars and Jennifer Lopez.
His biggest accomplishment, however, was relaunching Elektra Records in 2009 as co-president with John Janick. The duo quickly restored the label to its former prestige by bolstering its roster with artists like Mars and Cee Lo Green, who have earned more than 20 combined Grammy Award nominations in the past three years. Caren notes, "Elektra's Grammy nominations were something I was particularly proud of. Our goal was to be both critically acclaimed and commercially viable, and that confirmed it."
Caren is similarly proud of Flo Rida's success -- the artist recently hit 30 million song downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (He's now aiming for 100 million.) Caren also runs the music publishing company Artist Publishing Group, which has had more than 10 tracks reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.