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Def Jam Names Nicki Farag EVP/Head of Promotion, Noah Sheer & Keith Rothschild Rise

Nicki Farag
Courtesy Photo

Nicki Farag

In the latest moves at the executive level since new chairman/CEO Paul Rosenberg took over Def Jam at the beginning of the year, Nicki Farag has been promoted to executive vp/head of promotion, taking over a role that had been empty since former promo chief Rick Sackheim left for Epic last year. Two other promotions were also part of the announcement: Noah Sheer has also been promoted to executive vp rhythm & lifestyle promotion; and Keith Rothschild has been upped to senior vp promotion.

All three are longtime industry veterans, with Farag having spent 15 years at Def Jam and Sheer 18 years at the company, while Rothschild, who joined Def Jam in 2013, had spent 15 years at Warner Bros. before making the move to the UMG label. The trio of Farag, Sheer and Rothschild have been credited with helping break big singles from Logic ("1-800-273-8255"), Alessia Cara ("Scars To Your Beautiful") and Big Sean ("Bounce Back") in the past year, with all three artists grabbing Grammy nominations at this past January’s awards ceremony. They’ve also worked singles by marquee Def Jam acts Kanye West, Justin Bieber and 2 Chainz and helped make Desiigner’s debut single "Panda" one of the breakout hits of 2016.

"I am delighted to announce the promotions of Nicki, Noah and Keith,” Rosenberg said in a statement announcing the moves. “In the short time we’ve worked together, I have come to know them as passionate, dedicated, energetic, top-notch executives. Their promotions are well-deserved and well-earned; and we are especially proud of Nicki’s new title and its historic significance to the label.”

In taking on the job as head of promotion at Def Jam, which was founded in 1984, Farag becomes the first woman to fill that role in the label’s history, and she called her rise to the top role from her beginnings as an assistant a "great honor" and "an incredible milestone."

"As the first woman in Def Jam’s 34-year history to earn the title, I would like to thank and recognize Paul Rosenberg for believing in me and paving the way for female executives at this company," she said in a statement. I’m thrilled to continue to work with Noah Sheer and Keith Rothschild, both integral executives for Def Jam. They are reliable, resilient and masterminds at their jobs... We will continue to cultivate, educate and accept no boundaries or limitations in the promotion of our incredible artists and their music.”

Sheer, who began his career at Arista in 1998 before moving to Def Jam two years later, has risen steadily through the ranks over the past 18 years, most recently serving as senior vp rhythm/crossover & dance promotion since 2016. "If you had told me when I graduated high school that I’d end up landing a gig at Def Jam Recordings, I would have told you that you were crazy," Sheer said in a statement. "This label, this team, these artists, we’ve accomplished so much, and to be able to contribute to this brand and the culture on a daily basis is nothing short of amazing."

For Rothschild, the promotion to senior vp of all promotion comes after a 20-plus-year career in top 40, most recently as senior vp of top 40 promotion, a job he’s held since 2016. "It’s absolutely incredible that Nicki Farag, Noah Sheer and I started as regionals together and are now in senior leadership roles within the Def Jam promotion department," he said in a statement. "I would like to congratulate Nicki and Noah, and thank Paul Rosenberg for the opportunity to continue to break new artists and deliver hit records at this iconic and historic label."


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