Layoffs took place in the promotion department of Warner Music's labels today, sources tell Billboard.biz. People let go include Reprise Senior Vice President of Promotion Mike Rittberg, Warner SVP Ron Cerrito, Reprise VP of Pop Promotion Bob Weil, Reprise VP of Alternative Promotion Lynn McDonnell, Warner VP of Pop Radio Promotion Ken Lucek and others.
At least a dozen regional reps -- including veterans Kim Poole, Rich Garcia, Jim Kelly, Howard Frank and Bob Hathaway -- were also let go, according to All Access.
A source close to the situation said that the Warner and Reprise labels are not being merged although the promotion staffs are, under the leadership of Peter Gray, newly appointed Senior Vice President for Warner Bros./Reprise, who joined the company in June.
With Len Blavatnik's Access Industries completing its purchase of Warner in July, and the appointment of Stephen Cooper to the position of CEO, staff reductions have been anticipated.
A rep for Warner Music had not responded to Billboard.biz's request for comment at press time.
In a long and heartfelt email sent to many people in the industry, Rittberg thanked dozens of his colleagues and wrote in part:
"Before my first job at a record store I had dreamed to work at Warner Bros. Records. Coming from A&M Records [to] Warner Bros. was the giant version of a boutique label that believed in artists and were committed to the future. …
"I will always remember my lunch with [legendary Warner chief] Mo Ostin when I got the job 'down the hall' to run Reprise. He told me stories about Sinatra starting Reprise and how the first rock signings were Jimi Hendrix and The Kinks. It's that spirit - of trying to forge new ground - that I will always carry with me in my next endeavor."