David Williams, founder of the once-great independent Australian music company Shock Entertainment, is stepping aside as CEO after 24 years.
The void left by Williams departure will be filled by executive GM Scot Crawford. Crawford was promoted to executive GM in November after serving five years as Shock's GM media and marketing.
Williams' departure will come as a surprise, but not a shock to those who've followed the company's rise and fall.
Now owned by Regency Media, the country's largest independent manufacturer and distributor of CDs and DVDs, Shock had small beginnings. The company began life in 1988, based out of a spare room in a Melbourne terrace house. Williams, Frank Falvo and Andrew McGee initially launched Shock as an import specialist, but over time the business would go on to symbolize innovation in the independent music scene. Shock diversified, building-up a portfolio of interests which at one stage included Shock Music Publishing, One Stop Entertainment, Shock Records, Shock DVD and the Ragged Company touring division.
At its peak, Shock employed roughly 190 staff and achieved annual turnover in the vicinity of Australian $100 million. According to Williams, Shock has pumped around a billion Australian dollars back into the entertainment industry. More than 100 million CDs and DVDs have passed through Shock hands.
The glory days came to a stunning halt in 2010 when Shock's debts caught up with it and the company changed hands. An end of sorts came when Shock's lenders pulled their credit line, before replicator Regency Media moved in August of that year. Williams was brought on board by the new owners.
"After a successful couple of years of rebuilding the business," says Williams in a statement issued late Wednesday, "it is the perfect time to hand the reins over to the next generation of music, TV and film enthusiasts."
Williams describes Crawford as an "enthusiastic and forward looking leader who I can guarantee is going to drive the business into an exciting future."
Williams is currently a board member of Australia's independent music companies' trade body AIR, a position he will likely now have to vacate.