Universal Music Latin Appoints Top Execs

Universal Music Latin Entertainment, the new company created following the acquisition of Univision Music Group by Universal Music Group, has made its first appointments to its senior executive team, Billboard has learned.

As previously reported, the new division will be led by Jesús López, Universal's current Chairman & CEO for Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, who presides over Universal's entire Latin operation.

López's new appointments include Walter Kolm, promoted to president of Universal Music Latino and Machete; Gustavo López, promoted to president of Fonovisa and Disa; and John Echevarría, promoted to executive VP of operations for Universal Music Latin America.

Victor González remains as president of Universal Music Mexico & Central America and Eddie Fernández also remains as senior VP, Universal Music Publishing Group, Latin America. In addition, Joe Rakauskas was appointed senior VP of finance and CFO of the new company while Mark Berger was appointed VP of business affairs.

All will report directly to Jesús López, although Fernández will continue to report to David Renzer (Chairman & CEO, UMPG), but reports to López with regards to Latin America and the Univision catalogs.

López’s first appointments set in motion the wheels of Universal Music Latin Entertainment, the company that now encompasses Univision Music Group and Universal’s Latin operations. The division, which López oversees as part of his overall supervision of Universal’s Latin operations, now encompasses Universal Music Latino, Machete, Fonovisa, Disa, Univision Records, Universal Music Mexico & Central America.

It also includes global management company GTS as well as Universal and Univision’s joint publishing catalogs, which now include the Edimonsa, Disa and Fonovisa catalogs. All told, the company will be the dominating Latin music label in the United States, with a nearly 50% market share, according to the most recent Nielsen SoundScan numbers. Universal is the market leader in several other Latin territories.

Today’s appointments give a broad view of how the new company will be structured, with labels and jurisdictions divided by genre in the United States.

From a purely musical standpoint, all pop, tropical, rock and urban music in the United States will now fall under Kolm, who will be continue to be based out of Miami.

Formerly the senior VP of marketing and A&R for Universal Music Latino, Kolm has been instrumental in the marketing and development of acts such as Juanes, Enrique Iglesias, Paulina Rubio and Rakim & Ken-Y, among others, and also signed acts like La Secta and La Factoría to the company.

In turn, Gustavo López (no relation to Jesús López), will oversee all regional Mexican music for the company in the United States, and will be based out of Los Angeles. López was previously president of Machete Music, the urban Latin music label he founded in 2005 and which later expanded to include regional Mexican product.

Echevarria, previously president of Universal Music Latino, the U.S. Latin label, will now take an oversight role as VP of operations for the Latin American region.

As for González and Fernández, while their titles remain the same, their roles have now expanded to include Univision, Disa and Fonovisa responsibilities.

From the Univision side, Universal Music Latin Entertainment incorporates Rakauskas and Berger into senior management positions.

A 25-year veteran of the music industry, Berger was most recently VP of business affairs for Univision Music Group. Rakauskas was previously the company’s VP of finance and worked on the Disa acquisition.

More appointments are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.