Epic Records to Name Tricky Stewart Head of A&R
Epic Records to Name Tricky Stewart Head of A&R

As projected by Billboard back in November, Epic Records chairman and CEO L.A. Reid has named Mark Shimmel COO. Shimmel, who held the position of head of music at Turner Entertainment Networks for the past seven years, overseeing TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, joins the New York-based company as Reid's number-two.

The two go back to LaFace Records, where Reid and partner Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds discovered Usher and TLC, and the now defunct Arista, where Shimmel was svp of marketing and artist relations and Reid was CEO. In addition, Shimmel ran his own management company, had a hand in the induction of the first-ever hip-hop exhibit into the Smithsonian Institute and spent several years overseeing talent for the Kennedy Center Honors.

Says Reid: "Mark is an unparalleled executive and an exceptional leader with a wealth of experience in the music and entertainment space. He will be fundamental in successfully leading Epic Records."

Known for his expertise in music brand partnerships, Shimmel should fit right in with Reid's nonstop Twitter pep rally, where he encourages his more than 290,000 followers to "be Epic" and "live the Epic life."

"L.A. Reid is the most talented and creative music executive of the modern era," adds Shimmel. "To build a new organization supporting his creative process is the opportunity of a lifetime. I look forward to our entire organization reaching its greatest successes."

Reid, who was a judge on the first season of Fox's X Factor, has been quietly staffing up over the last few months, bringing producer Christopher "Tricky" Stewart in-house as president of A&R along with his brother Mark Stewart who holds the title of evp of A&R operations. In October, Angelica Cob-Baehler left her post as svp of media and creative services at Capitol to take on the evp of marketing role at Epic.

Recent signings to the label include quirky hip-pop duo Karmin, X Factor winner Melanie Amaro and finalists Chris Rene and Astro. Reid has also brought over several acts from his former rosters elsewhere in the Sony family, including Avril Lavigne and Ciara.

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