BMG, which is continuing to streamline its operations ahead of a merger with Sony Music, has tapped Clive Davis as chairman/CEO of BMG North America. The restructuring puts the operations of Arista, RCA/J and Jive under the control of Davis, who was most recently chairman/CEO of RCA Music Group.
In his new role, Davis — who is based in New York and reports to BMG chairman/CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz — will also oversee BMG Distribution, BMG Strategic Marketing and BMG Canada.
Meanwhile, Charles Goldstuck, who was president/COO of RCA Music Group, becomes president/COO of BMG North America. He continues to report to Davis.
The moves signal further pending consolidation within the ranks at BMG. The company says administrative operations and certain support functions at the labels will be consolidated as part of the new alignment. Goldstuck will oversee consolidated business operations.
Barry Weiss will continue to head Jive Records. He now reports to Davis.
Schmidt-Holtz says the restructuring is prompted by continuing difficulties in the worldwide music market. There is no word yet on the extent of layoffs or when they will take place.
“What we look to is the model from when we merged RCA and J,” Davis tells Billboard.biz. “There were some administrative and support functions that took over for both labels.”
No decisions have been made as to whether there will be replacements for Davis at RCA, or for the recently departed Antonio “L.A.” Reid at Arista.
However, Davis says the company will look to attract new executive talent. “From the creative point of view, we’re going to be looking to attract probably two top-level executives to help Charles, Barry and myself to help us move ahead here,” he says. Weiss will play a “major role” in the new operating structure, Davis adds.
While questions continue to swirl around the prospect of consolidation among BMG’s existing labels, Davis cautions that no decisions have been made. Any new hires, he notes, “would help in any combination” of labels.
“We’ve got to look at the whole structure,” Davis says. “We haven’t gotten into the exact form of this yet.”
Goldstuck tells Billboard.biz that all three label groups will continue to be major creative centers for the foreseeable future. He adds that the company remains committed to growing at the creative and A&R levels.
The new alignment does not include publishing; RCA Label Group-Nashville, which is led by chairman Joe Galante; or BMG Classics, led by chairman Nicholas Firth.
It is unclear whether the restructuring at BMG will be reflected in a merged Sony BMG — a deal currently under review with European regulators. Sources say the moves are occurring independently of any merger plans.
The promotion of Davis marks the latest chapter in his long history with BMG. Davis’ relationship with the company dates to 1979, when the major acquired Arista, which he founded in 1975. Davis led Arista until 2000, when he exited to launch J. In 2002, he was named to lead the RCA Music Group, which combined J and RCA Records.