Verve Label Group's First Year Under Danny Bennett Marked By Flurry of Executive Moves

Kelsey Bennett
Danny BennettĀ 

Last May, Universal Music Group announced it would realign some of its most prestigious jazz and classical imprints under the Verve Label Group moniker, with industry veteran Danny Bennett at the helm as president and CEO. In the ensuing months, Bennett has assembled what he now describes as an "unstoppable team" at their new HQ in New York City.

In a recent memo to employees, Bennett said they have taken "great strides" since the formation of the label group, which gathers jazz-centric Verve as well as classical imprints Deutsche Grammophon, Decca Records, Decca Classics and Mercury Classics.

Bennett, whose father Tony released a pair of albums on Verve in the early 1970s, announced several promotions or hirings, including the elevation of Leslie Collman-Smith to General Manager. Before joining Verve, Collman-Smith was a senior vp of marketing at UMG's U.S. Classics division. "Leslie has been instrumental in reshaping [VLG]," Bennett said.

Other key appointments include Josh Cheuse, formerly of Sony Music, as creative director; plus Verve's marketing department has seen the additions of ex-RPM Productions exec Hadley Spanier as svp of marketing, former Sony exec Mandy DellaCorte as vp of marketing, and Jamie Krents as svp of international marketing and label development.

In the Santa Monica office, existing West Coast marketing exec Holly Adams has been promoted to svp, special projects and global soundtracks, an expanded role that puts her in a position to support Global Classics president and CEO Dickon Stainer.

As was stressed during last year's announcement, Bennett said the label group will continue to expand the awareness and reach of its catalog, as well as develop and promote emerging artists. "The Verve Label Group will remain a welcoming home for artists and musicians of all genres," he said. "We intend to reach music fans from the ages of 9 to 90."

Verve Records was founded by Norman Granz in 1956 and has been home to such jazz greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Stan Getz and Billie Holiday. Prior to Bennett, Verve had been managed by record producer David Foster since 2012.