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With Charlie Walk On Leave, Republic Keeps Moving

Republic Group president Charlie Walk's status at the company remains in limbo, two weeks after the label placed him on leave following an allegation of sexual harassment levied against him. But in…

Republic Group president Charlie Walk‘s status at the company remains in limbo, two weeks after the label placed him on leave following an allegation of sexual harassment levied against him in an open letter published by former Sony Music employee Tristan Coopersmith on Jan. 29.

Walk ceded his spot as a judge on Fox’s music talent show The Four but has denied the claim, and sources say he is proud of how many female executives and artists he has championed during his career. Meanwhile, his lawyers have threatened legal action against Bob Lefsetz over subsequent anonymous allegations published in industry newsletter Lefsetz Letter. Universal Music Group (UMG) announced it was conducting a review of the allegations, but as of press time hadn’t announced a result. In the meantime, Republic is left without its third-highest-ranking executive.

Walk’s purview at Republic includes oversight of its promotions, marketing and publicity divisions, as well as promotions for Island Records, Cash Money Records and Big Machine’s pop initiatives. And he has been undoubtedly successful: Republic finished 2017 as the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 label on Billboard‘s year-end charts, and in the calendar year, the label group topped the Hot 100 for 28 weeks, the most of any label since Interscope’s 31 in 2009. (Republic, which has spent the last four years at No. 1, was also the No. 1 Hot 100 label in 2012, before Walk joined the team.) Already in 2018, Drake‘s “God’s Plan” has sat atop the chart for three weeks, meaning that Republic has held the top spot for 30 of the past 40 weeks, since Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee‘s “Despacito” began its record-tying run at No. 1 last May.

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Walk’s track record since beginning his career at Sony in 1990 is impressive: He has been attached to over 50 Hot 100 No. 1s during the past three decades. Yet the team Republic has in place has experience keeping things moving in his absence. His role in The Four was announced Nov. 18, 2017, and the show premiered Jan. 4. New GM Jim Roppo, who had overseen the label’s marketing initiatives prior to his January promotion, just celebrated his 20th year at UMG, having spent over a decade at Island Def Jam, while executive vp promotions Gary Spangler, who Walk elevated to the top promotions job in 2016, has spent 12 years moving up the ranks at Republic. And in late 2017, respected iHeartRadio executive Sharon Dastur joined as senior vp promotions.

Meanwhile, top executives Monte and Avery Lipman have continued to grow the label they built 20 years ago. Projects from Drake, Post Malone, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd are in the pipeline.