Former Warner exec founded Montreux Jazz Festival.

Claude Nobs, founder/CEO of the iconic Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, is to be honored as the personality of the year at the MIDEM international music industry confab on Jan. 22 at Cannes, South of France.

Nobs, a former international director of Warner Music Group's WEA label and live music promoter, founded the festival in 1967 after successfully introducing major U.S. acts such as Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin to European live music audiences.

Since then, the three day event has grown into one of Europe's biggest live music festivals lasting between two to three weeks and attracting more than 250,000 spectators a year.

Among the major international headliners in the festival's 40 year history are jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Quincy Jones, who was a director of the festival during the 1990s.

Contemporary and veteran rock and pop stars that have graced the festival's stage include Ray Charles, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Alicia Keys, Radiohead, REM, and Bob Dylan.

This year's edition (June 30-July 15) featured Niles Rodgers, BB King, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Beverley Knight and Gnarls Barkley. The 2007 event takes place on July 6-21.

"His enthusiasm and love of all types of music have forged the Montreux Jazz Festival not only into a unique event, but also into one of the world's most culturally diverse," said MIDEM director Dominique Leguern.

In December, Nobs will also be receiving the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters), France's highest accolade for recognizing an individual's contribution to the country's cultural industry.