Business

Executive Turntable: New Hires at Academy of Country Music, Roc Nation CEO Joins Jay-Z's Cannabis Company

Libby Gardner, Brandon Campbell, Jen Heaton
Courtesy of Academy of Country Music

Clockwise L-R: Libby Gardner, Brandon Campbell and Jen Heaton

The Academy of Country Music announced four new promotions: Brandon Campbell to director, creative and content; Bridget Cirone to manager, marketing; Libby Gardner to manager, creative and content; and Jen Heaton to vp strategic partnerships.

Heaton has been with the Academy of Country Music since 2017, most recently serving as director of strategic partnerships. In her new role, Heaton will continue to plan and execute the ACM and ACM Lifting Lives partner programs and report to Academy CEO Damon Whiteside. In her time at the Academy, Heaton has renewed partnerships with Ford, 1000 Stories Wine and Dr Pepper and has created new relationships with Crown Royal, T-Mobile and AT&T.

Campbell first joined the Academy in 2015, most recently serving as senior video manager, creative and content. During his time at the Academy, Campbell has contributed to media campaigns for the Academy and its partners -- CBS and dick clark productions -- to promote the ACM Awards, ACM Honors and ACM Lifting Lives. In his new role, Campbell will oversee creative strategy, development and content production and will also report to Whiteside.

Cirone originally joined the Academy in 2018 as assistant for both the marketing and creative and content departments, most recently serving as marketing coordinator. In her time at the ACM, Cirone has supported publicity and marketing initiatives for the Academy and ACM Lifting Lives; now, Cirone will add digital publicity initiatives in addition to continuing her work on company publicity and communications. She will report to Melissa Moldovan, senior manager marketing.

Gardner has been with the Academy since 2019, having served as coordinator, creative and content. In her new role, Gardner will oversee the day-to-day management of the Academy's website properties, photo archives and email blasts while also serving as assistant editor of ACM Tempo. She’ll act as a field producer for the Academy's in-house video content and supervises both the digital and print creative content distributed by the Academy. Gardner reports to Campbell.

“The Academy is so thrilled to recognize the promotions of Jen, Brandon, Bridget and Libby,” Whiteside said in a statement. “All of these individuals have continued to showcase their hard work, perseverance and knowledge in their areas of expertise, helping to make this past year one of ACM’s most groundbreaking years ever. I look forward to seeing them continue to grow in their careers and enhance our organization for years to come.”


Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez has been named to the board of directors of The Parent Company -- a cannabis company that “blends operations with pop culture and social impact.” Both companies were launched by Jay-Z, and Perez’s appointment to the board further aligns The Parent Company with Roc Nation, according to the press release.

The Parent Company already acts as “Official Cannabis Partner” to Roc Nation, helping to “leverage the entertainment company’s cultural influence and social impact to drive growth in sales and brand equity,” the press release reads.

As CEO of Roc Nation, Perez leads all strategic direction from artist representation to touring partnerships. Named Executive of the Year at Billboard’s 2019 Women in Music awards, she’s also played a major role in growing Jay-Z’s portfolio, including the launch of high-end liquor brands Ace of Spades champagne and D’Usse cognac and a global partnership with Universal Music Group.


Endeavor has named a new leader for its China subsidiary.

Veteran Chinese media and entertainment executive Sum Huang joined the firm on Wednesday as CEO of Endeavor China. Huang most recently was co-founder and partner of XG Entertainment, a Shanghai-based content provider for regional streaming platforms. The company, which raised capital from Alibaba and other local venture firms, also underwrote and produced live concerts for leading local artists and established a branded content team that formed a TikTok-based, multi-channel media business.

"Sum’s entrepreneurial background and deep understanding of media will help us enhance the strong offering we’ve built across entertainment, sports and fashion in China and APAC more broadly," said Mark Shapiro, president of Endeavor, in a statement. "In this next phase of our growth, Sum will ensure we continue delivering exceptional local-market expertise for our clients and partners while expanding our footprint across the region.” —Patrick Brzeski, THR


Warner Chappell Music (WCM) tapped Jenni Pfaff and Jesse Dang for senior vp positions. Pfaff previously served as senior vp of people, meanwhile Dang was formerly head of people partners, sales and distribution / news and sports at WarnerMedia.

Pfaff will serve as senior vp/head of global strategic integration and operations and report to WCM’s co-chairs, CEO Guy Moot and COO Carianne Marshall. She’ll serve as an adviser and change agent in her new role, ensuring that the company’s global business priorities and strategic initiatives are successfully implemented. “I’m very proud of everything we’ve been doing to support our people and songwriters and truly create an environment where they can thrive,” Pfaff said in a statement.

Dang’s appointment will fill Pfaff’s former position as senior vp of people at Warner Chappell. Reporting to WMG’s executive vp and chief people officer Masha Osherova, Dang will focus on executing the company’s people agenda across its U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia territories, as well as provide HR counsel and support to the publisher’s leadership team.

“Jenni has been an incredible strategic partner over these past few years as we looked to re-energize our company’s culture and launch our new business strategy,” Moot and Marshall said in a joint statement. “We’re equally as excited to welcome Jesse to our Warner Chappell family and look forward to partnering with him on our People strategy and the employee experience for our global teams.”


Epic Records announced Thursday (July 1) the promotion of Margeaux Watson to senior vp of marketing. Watson has served as vp of marketing since 2019.

In her elevated position, Watson will continue to strategize and implement marketing campaigns for artists on the label's roster, which includes Black Eyed Peas, Camila Cabello, Bobby Shmurda, Jennifer Hudson, Swizz Beatz, Tyla Yaweh, AJ Mitchell, MK xyz and Charm La’Donna. Watson worked on releases for all of the aforementioned names, according to a press release.

“Learning and growing under the leadership of Sylvia Rhone and Dave Bell has been an exciting journey, and I am tremendously grateful for their continued guidance and support,” Watson said in a statement. “I look forward to new challenges ahead, while building impactful campaigns that will elevate our established artists and launch tomorrow’s superstars.”


Rock The Bells, LL COOL J’s hip-hop content, commerce and experience brand, recently announced several new hires: Tracey Smith as head of talent; Richard Morris as vp of commerce; Malcolm Simpson as vp of marketing; Frantz Cayo as head of content; Alex Grant as vp of sales; Josephine Palermo as product designer; and Mary Almonte as director of social media and digital marketing.

This latest round of hires comes on the heels of a successful Series A funding round led by Raine Ventures, which raised $8 million. “Our new hires represent some of the most diverse and talented industry execs with a deep knowledge and passion for hip-hop culture,” president James Cuthbert said in a statement. “I am beyond excited to welcome them to the team and look forward to working hand in hand to accelerate the growth and vision of Rock The Bells.”

Cuthbert was appointed as president earlier this year to oversee the growth of the company. In June, the company extended the brand beyond its SiriusXM radio channel with the launch of a new multi-platform destination dedicated to celebrating, honoring and preserving timeless and classic hip-hop through a modern lens.

Rock the Bells’ new hires come from a variety of backgrounds, with Morris joining from ViacomCBS Consumer Products and Smith most recently serving as a talent producer for the CDC. Simpson has worked in marketing roles for companies spanning IHG Hotels and Resorts, Kellogg Company, General Mills and Johnson & Johnson, while Cayo was the executive producer of the BET Experience. Grant was previously at Overtime Sports, Almonte has worked for Emmis Communications and Palermo is bringing her branding experience with companies like Yeezy and Tom Hilfiger to her new role.


Secret Road Music Services announced Wednesday (June 30) that Liz Baylog will take on the newly-created position of vp, A&R/publishing. Based in New York, Baylog will work with artists and songwriters on the licensing and publishing company’s roster while signing and developing new artists.

Founder and president Lynn Grossman said the Secret Road team worked with Baylog while she was in her previous role of head of creative at Red Bull Songs. “The entire team fell in love,” Grossman said in a statement.

“She is the perfect combination of right brain and left brain -- creative respect for artists and industry savvy,” Grossman said. “As the company continues to expand its offerings to independent artists and writers, we are excited to have Liz’s expertise to help grow our publishing division.”

Baylog has built up a stacked list of credits in her 15-year career, from building Green & Bloom/Topline Music Publishing to signing 25 up-and-coming songwriters and artists while at Red Bull Songs. She will continue to manage her roster of clients -- including Alex Aiono, Christian Medice and Veronica Ferraro -- in her new role, according to the press release.

“Liz brings a level of creativity and industry connections that will leverage the unique talents of our artists and songwriters,” said Secret Road COO/CFO Wayne Davis. “Lynn and I could not be more optimistic about the future of our company and the music industry overall.”