May be returning to label in consulting role.
Former Warner Bros. Records chairman Mo Ostin may be close to returning to the label in a consulting capacity after months of discussions driven by current Warner chairman and CEO Tom Whalley, according to sources familiar with the talks.
Ostin, who joined Frank Sinatra's Reprise Records in 1963 as an accountant, went on to helm Warner Bros. for three decades during its years as the music business leader.
The universally respected executive exited the company in 1995 during a period of management turmoil; with former Warner Bros. president Lenny Waronker, he went on to head DreamWorks Records until its purchase by Universal Music Group in 2004.
The talks about a possible encore by Ostin commenced after a private February 7 ceremony at which Warner Bros.' Burbank headquarters was renamed the Mo Ostin Building. Ostin also was honored by the Recording Academy at a post-Grammys fete the following day.
It remains unclear exactly what role the retired 79-year-old executive would play at the label, but his presence in even a consulting function would add luster to the executive roster at Warner Bros., currently the No. 3 U.S. label group.
Many of the architects of Warner Music's glory years remain on board at the company. Ahmet Ertegun continues to serve as founding chairman of Atlantic Records; Seymour Stein is in place as CEO of Sire Records; and Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman heads WMG's online label Cordless Recordings.
A WMG spokesman declined comment. Ostin could not be reached.