In a surprise announcement, Joie Manda has resigned as President of Def Jam Records to relocate back to Los Angeles. As part of his relocation, he will remain within the Universal Music Group family by joining Interscope Records as President of Urban Music. The announcement was made today by Barry Weiss, president & CEO of UMG’s East Coast Labels, and John Janick, president & COO of Interscope Geffen A&M. Manda will now report to Janick.
Manda was appointed president of Def Jam -- the label's first president since Jay-Z stepped down in 2007 -- just over a year ago.
“Despite having to move back to Los Angeles for personal reasons, I am truly grateful to Barry, John and Jimmy Iovine for this exciting new opportunity," Manda said in a statement. "I've learned a lot from Barry in the last year and am very appreciative of everything he has done for me. I am now looking forward to being part of the Interscope family, a company uniquely positioned for success despite this challenging marketplace."
"While we understand Joie’s personal reasons for wanting to move back to Los Angeles, we’re thankful for all of his contributions to Def Jam,” Weiss said. “We wish him success in his new role at our sister label.”
"Joie is an important part of the fabric of UMG, and I'm glad we were all able to work together to make this transition possible for him,” said Janick. “I've known Joie for some time and I've always been impressed by his work ethic and instincts. He's going to play a big role in the future of Interscope."
Speaking with Billboard.biz late this morning, Manda said that his last day at Def Jam will be Friday and his first day at Interscope will be Monday, and said he's "excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work. They've done a great job with Kendrick Lamar and I'm really excited to build on that success."
Looking back over his year at Def Jam, he said that his personal highlight was Frank Ocean "talking about his sexuality in such a brave way, and us rallying around him as a company, I'm excited to work with an artist who broke barriers." He also noted that the label had three No. 1 albums during his tenure -- Rick Ross, Nas and 2 Chainz (inside just four weeks last summer), and singled out the latter's success as a particular highlight. "He and Kendrick are the breakout rap stories of the year."
Asked what his biggest disappointment was, Manda paused for a moment and then said, "Not getting to be here when a Kanye record was released. I've worked with him but not on releasing an album, and that's disappointing because I'm such a huge fan."
As for whether or not there will be a next president of Def Jam any time soon, he said he wasn't certain about Weiss' plans: "I guess I'm friendly competition now," he laughed. No plans for a new president were mentioned in the release, but a source close to the situation said that a new president eventually will be brought in.
Prior to joining Def Jam, Manda served as head of Urban Music for Warner Bros. Records, where he was involved in the signing of Common, Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group (Wale, Meek Mill), Waka Flocka Flame and Jill Scott, among others. He started at WMG as Executive Vice President of Asylum Records, starting when the label was revived in 2004 and signed Paul Wall and Bun B. Mr. Manda began his career in music as an artist manager.