Music industry veteran Bob Freese has been hired by New Hope, Minn.-based Navarre Corp. to head Navarre Entertainment Media, its music distribution division, sources said.

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Music industry veteran Bob Freese has been hired by New Hope, Minn.-based Navarre Corp. to head Navarre Entertainment Media, its music distribution division, sources said.

Freese replaces NEM senior VP/GM Steve Pritchitt, who exited the company in August. Pritchitt has since been hired as GM of Fontana Distribution, Universal Music Group's new indie distribution arm.

The publicly traded Navarre operates one of the top U.S. indie distributors of music and DVDs and a separate division that distributes computer software and videogames.

Freese, who has worked outside of the music industry for the past two years, founded Cleveland-based FreeFalls Entertainment in 1999. The label, which was distributed by Navarre, issued albums by Willie Nelson, Lee Greenwood, Highway 101, Billy Burnette and others.

From 1994 to 1998, Freese was VP of sales and marketing at Epic Records in New York. He held the same title at Liberty Records (now Capitol Nashville) from 1991 to 1994. From 1987 to 1991, he was national sales manager at Capitol Records.

A Navarre spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

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