Jeff Castelaz Steps Down as Elektra President: Exclusive

Courtesy Photo
Label executive and artist manager Jeff Castelaz

Jeff Castelaz will step down as president of Elektra Records to focus on his Cast Management company and charitable efforts, effective September 30. Castelaz founded Cast, which counts the Dropkick Murphys and producers Justin Meldal-Johnson (M83Tegan and Sara, Paramore) and Tony Hoffer (Beck, Air) as its clients, in 1992. 

In a statement, Atlantic Records co-chairmen Craig Kallman and Julie Greenwald, to whom Castelaz reported, said, "We thank Jeff for everything he's achieved over his three years at Elektra. He has been a passionate and committed leader during a key period of transition for this iconic label. We wish him all the best with Cast Management." Atlantic and Elektra were merged by parent company Warner Music Group in 2004. 

"Running Elektra Records has been a dream come true," 
Castelaz tells Billboard. "Being part of Atlantic Records Group, I've learned so much from Craig and Julie, and will forever count them as business mentors and friends.

"But I've been accused of being a serial entrepreneur," he continues. "I build something, I get it to the best place I can, and then I start dreaming of what's next. Being a manager really satiates that part of me because each producer or band I manage is a different entrepreneurial project, because those business are constantly iterating and changing -- and that really turns my crank."

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A spokesperson for Warner tells Billboard there will be no immediate replacement for Castelaz, and that Greg Nadell, who was named general manager of Elektra in February after 18 years as an A&R exec at Atlantic, will oversee the day to day running of the label. At Atlantic, Nadel signed Zac Brown Band, O.A.R. and Sturgill Simpson, and worked on campaigns for Ed Sheeran and Coldplay. He also heads his own Atlantic imprint, F-Stop, whose roster includes Vance Joy and others.

Castelaz pointed to Fitz and the Tantrums, Saint Motel, The Moth & The Flame, Anderson East and Kaleo as key artists he brought to or worked with at Elektra. He was named president in October of 2012 after nine years as CEO of Dangerbird Records and Music Publishing, which he co-founded in 2003. There, he played a key role in the careers of Silversun Pickups, Fitz and The Tantrums, Beady Eye and Eagles of Death Metal, among others.

He launched Cast Management in his hometown of Milwaukee in 1992 and has owned it throughout his stints at Dangerbird and Elektra. "I've owned Cast since I was 18 years old," he says. "During a period of the Dangerbird years we rebranded the company as Dangerbird Management, to have branding clarity, and when I left Dangerbird the management company came with me and has continued operating during my tenure at Warner Music Group as a completely separate entity with a separate staff, so there really is no transition: It's something I've been doing all along, and I will simply sit behind that desk starting on October 1.

"Without a doubt, I am looking to expand the roster," he says, "And what I envision is a boutique full-service management company. I'll be meeting with lots of artists, producers and mixers over the next couple of weeks." 

In 2008, Castelaz and his wife Jo Ann Thrailkill founded The Pablove Foundation, a pediatric cancer charity, which funds innovative pediatric cancer research and programs that improve the lives of children and families living with childhood cancer. The organization has raised nearly $10 million. Currently, Castelaz serves as chairman of the board for the foundation and, in October, will lead its seventh annual week-long cycling event, Pablove Across America, as 40 cyclists ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer.