JOEL KLAIMAN, 49
Executive vp/GM, Columbia Records
Last Year’s Rank: 83
BACK SEAT DRIVER: With the label’s former CEO Rob Stringer tapped to run Sony Music Entertainment, Klaiman steered Columbia to a 9.1 percent market share in 2017, until Ron Perry was picked to run the label in early January. Klaiman followed up a blockbuster 2016, which had No. 1 hits and Grammys galore for Adele, Beyoncé and David Bowie, with a 2017 that helped anoint The Chainsmokers and Harry Styles as its latest superstars, each scoring No. 1 debuts on the Billboard 200. The Chainsmokers also landed three top 10 Hot 100 hits in the same week.
WAITING IN THE WINGS: Klaiman is looking to build on Columbia’s hip-hop presence with rappers like Russ, whose debut album went gold in 2017 on top of a constant stream of single releases. “This is a guy who’s going to have a career as long as he wants,” says Klaiman.