Walter Kolm, president of Universal Music Latino/Machete, is leaving the label to manage the career of Mexican superstar Cristian Castro, sources confirmed to Billboard.biz. Kolm would remain based in Los Angeles and working closely with Universal Music Latino, the label to which Castro is signed.
Kolm's departure date has not been announced or confirmed, but is expected to be this week. Sources also say that Kolm's position as president will be eliminated. All duties associated with the post will now fall under Luis Estrada, the current general manager of Universal Music Latino/Machete, based in Los Angeles and reporting directly to Jesus Lopez, Chairman/CEO Universal Music Latin America/Iberian Penninsula.
The Argentine-born Kolm leaves after 16 years at Universal, the last three as president of the combined pop and urban divisions, whose roster of stars include Enrique Iglesias, Juanes, Don Omar and Wisin y Yandel. A hit-driven executive, Kolm had a steady stream of No. 1 hits on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart, and in 2010, Universal Music Latino won Billboard's Hot Latin Songs label of the year award for the first time.
The label also boasted the top-selling album of 2010, Enrique Iglesias' "Euphoria," whose first single, "Cuando Me Enamoro," spent 17 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart, a record for the 12-month period.
Kolm is leaving Universal to handle Castro, whose recent album "Viva el Príncipe" has become one of the label's top-selling albums of the past 12 months. The set spent seven weeks at Nol. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart and has been in the top 5 of the chart since it's debut 25 weeks ago.
Kolm began his career in Universal as managing director of Universal Music Argentina, then became Managing Director of Mercury Spain, Managing director of Universal Music Chile and finally Sr. VP of marketing and A&R for Universal Music Latino. He took over the position of president of Universal Music Latino/Machete in 2008 after Universal Music Group bought Univisión Records and restructured its operations, bringing together its pop and urban departments.