Don Van Cleave will leave his post as executive director of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS), at the end of the year, to join Gary Gersh's Artists Organization in an executive management position.

The Artist Organization manages the careers of such artists as Counting Crows, John Legend, Matisyahu, and Wild Sweet Orange.

Van Cleave, who helped found CIMS in 1995, will continue to be based in Birmingham, Ala. The CIMS board and Van Cleave will be interviewing candidates to fill the executive director position, which will be based in Birmingham.

In addition to running CIMS, Van Cleave helped to launch Junketboy, an internal distribution company that focuses on acquiring unique and exclusive content for the entire independent record store community. Junketboy, known to consumers as ThinkIndie.com, has released albums by Pearl Jam, John Mayer, Deathcab for Cutie, Jack Johnson, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket, Weezer, Bright Eyes, among others.

Later this year, CIMS plans to launch a full service digital store designed to help provide all of the independent music retail community the ability to participate in digital sales.

"CIMS is really a Board run company and not a one man show," Van Cleave said in a statement. "I am fully confident that this group will not skip a beat going forward. Although I have been the face of CIMS all of these years, the whole thing is set up as a highly coordinated group effort."

In a statement, Gersh said, "Throughout the years of strong support for CIMS and their groundbreaking programs, Don and I have created a strong bond. His passion and skills are limitless and we are thrilled that Don has chosen to bring his long standing relationships to TAO for this next chapter in his life."

Michael Bunnell, owner of the Record Exchange in Boise, Idaho, and chairman of the CIMS Board of Directors said in a statement, "For the past 13 years Don has worked with this group of fiercely independent-minded store owners to not only build a successful organization, but also to strengthen the success of the individual stores. Beyond that, Don has forged life-long friendships with the coalition's membership. We look forward to working with him in an advisory position with CIMS and wish him well in his new position."

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