Geffen Records has named Jim Merlis as head of press, effective Oct. 1.

Geffen Records has named Jim Merlis as head of press, effective Oct. 1. Merlis, a founder of New York-based independent publicity firm Big Hassle Media, will replace Lillian Matulic, who has exited as Geffen's senior VP of publicity.

Merlis will remain based in New York until June 2005, when he will relocate to Geffen's Santa Monica, Calif., headquarters. In his new position, he will report to Interscope Geffen A&M head of marketing Paul Kremen.

Sources say that almost all of Big Hassle's clients -- which include the Strokes, the Libertines and Incubus -- are expected to stay with the independent publicity firm.

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