David Foster is set to take the top spot at esteemed jazz label Verve, THR has learned. The producer-composer-songwriter has worked with Josh Groban, Michael Buble and Andrea Bocelli and has won 15 Grammys.
Foster's arrival at Verve Music Group, which includes imprints GRP and Impulse (home to John Coltrane's catalog), is part of Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge's plan to reinvest in UMG's creative resources. Under Foster, Verve is expected to shift its focus to adult contemporary pop, or "what David does best, from Groban on down," says a source. The label's roster includes Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall and Ledisi. It also has released albums by Queen Latifah, American Idol alum Katharine McPhee and Treme regular Trombone Shorty.
The top Verve post has been open since Ron Goldstein exited in 2007. During that time, Bruce Resnikoff, CEO of Universal Music Enterprises, has been overseeing the labels. An insider says Universal senior vp Jay Landers, who has worked extensively with Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler, will head Verve's A&R department. Foster's sister Jaymes is also expected to join the creative team.
Foster, 61, has experience running a label: He signed a deal in 1995 with Warner Bros. that allowed him to operate his 143 Records. Among Foster's first signings was Irish band the Corrs, who sold more than 20 million albums outside the U.S.