Universal today confirmed that it cut approximately 60 staffers, as expected, and also hired former Sony A&R rep Larry Jackson as executive vice president of Interscope Geffen A&M, the New York Times reported. The news comes amid unconfirmed reports of several shakeups at the top of the company.
A source close to the situation told Billboard that the exact number of people laid off was 62, and the affected departments were Fonovisa, Disa, administrative services, Interscope; distribution, information technologies, finance and sales.
Jackson left Sony in October after falling out with Barry Weiss, who left Sony to join Universal in a surprise move last month. Weiss’ Sony contract ends in April.
At Interscope, the paper reported, Jackson will work with chairman Jimmy Iovine, who recently became an in-house talent coach on Fox’s “American Idol.” Universal’s Ron Fair is expected to leave his post as chairman of Geffen Records and move into a new position on “Idol.”
Island Def Jam Chairman L.A. Reid, whose status at the company has been in question, was reported by the paper’s sources to have declined an offer to run a new boutique label for the company. Reid reportedly has a year left on his contract and his future plans are unclear; sources close to the situation told Billboard that Reid’s negotiations are ongoing.
Of the layoffs, Universal spokesman Peter LoFrumento said, “The current economic climate dictates that we continue to look for more efficient ways to run our business. So we are taking steps to reduce costs while increasing our creative investment in a number of new areas and new businesses.”