BMG has named Zach Katz as president of its U.S. operation, both label and publishing. Katz will replace Laurent Hubert, who has held the role since the company’s re-founding in 2009.
Katz, whose official title will be BMG president, U.S. repertoire and marketing, will be responsible for BMG’s teams in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville as well as Rise Records in Portland, Ore. BMG is expected to generate around $500 million this year, with about half of that generated by its U.S. operations.
Katz, who reports to BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch, will join BMG’s worldwide leadership, which includes Alexi Cory-Smith president, U.K. repertoire and marketing; Fred Casimir, president of Continental Europe repertoire and marketing; and Alistair Norbury, executive vp, international repertoire.
Katz had been named president of music publishing earlier this year, overseeing key signings including Bebe Rexha, DJ Snake, Monsters & Strangerz, John Ryan, Bibi Bourelly, The Strokes, Greg Wells, Verse Simmonds, Gente De Zona, and Nathaniel Rateliff.
“Zach Katz is a dynamic and visionary leader who I am confident will not only inspire the BMG US team to even greater heights, but will also take BMG’s distinctive message to the heart of the US music community,” Masuch said in a statement.
Prior to joining the first BMG in 1999, Katz, previously a music industry attorney, was a co-founder alongside partner/client JR Rotem of the label Beluga Heights, which recorded artists including Jason Derulo and Sean Kingston. Prior to that Katz served as gm of Groove Attack USA.
In 2008, after Bertelsmann had completed its sale of BMG to Sony Corp., the company restarted its music operations under Masuch beginning the following year. Hubert, who had left BMG prior to the Sony sale, was the new BMG’s first employee, building its U.S. operation from the ground up, including oversight of BMG’s many acquisitions. Those acquisitions included labels such as Sanctuary, Mute, Vagrant, Rise, and music publishers Cherry Lane Music, Evergreen Copyright, and BUG Music. BMG’s most recent acquisition was in Australia, buying indie label and publishing company Albert & Son Pty Ltd.
Hubert was also instrumental in BMG’s fight for higher royalty rates for his songwriters, withdrawing digital rights from BMG at the end of 2013, to cut a direct deal with Pandora.
Masuch says Hubert leaves the U.S. company in good shape and in good hands, since Hubert had brought Katz into the company.
“Laurent Hubert’s contribution to the growth of BMG has been phenomenal,” Masuch said in a statement. “Under him our team in the US has grown from literally zero to 170 people, our revenues have grown from virtually nothing to over a quarter of a billion dollars. He is an exceptional dealmaker and strategist and the whole BMG team today salutes him.”
Hubert says he felt he has done everything he set out to do for BMG. “We both felt that now is the right time for that succession,” Hubert says in a statement on the news, “and I am delighted to endorse Zach as the right choice to lead this next chapter.”