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Executive Turntable: UMe Names Business Affairs Head; FADER Label Grows Team

A rundown of executive hires, promotions and exits in the week ending September 3, 2021.

Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), the global catalog and special markets division at Universal Music Group, has named Susan Hilderley executive vp of business affairs.

Hilderley’s hire marks a homecoming for the executive, who previously worked under the UMG umbrella for over 20 years, most recently as executive vp and head of business and legal affairs at Interscope Geffen A&M Records. She joins UMe from King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP, where she represented artists, producers, songwriters, record labels, music executives and entrepreneurs. Her career began at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, LLP following her graduation from Harvard Law School.

Reporting to UMe president & CEO Bruce Resnikoff out of Los Angeles, Hilderley will oversee all legal matters for UMe. She will also work with artist managers and attorneys, as well as all UMe departments, to grow UMe’s revenues through “both traditional and non-traditional channels,” according to a release.

“Susan brings exemplary leadership skills, knowledge, and longstanding relationships with artist managers and attorneys to UMe,” said Resnikoff in a statement. “She is uniquely qualified to understand all aspects of our business with her extensive label experience at Geffen and IGA as well as her experience representing A-list artists at a top law firm.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining Bruce and the outstanding team at UMe,” added Hilderley. “UMG’s recorded music catalog is second to none, and I’m excited to help honor the artists’ legacies and introduce them to new generations of fans.”

Hilderley is the co-creator and instructor for the UCLA School of Law Music Industry Clinic, which offers law students the opportunity to represent real clients in the L.A. music community under the supervision of a licensed attorney.

The New York-based independent FADER Label has announced several new hires and promotions as it works to increase its focus on artist development and creative support.

Manager, A&R and writer Matt Colwell has been named director of A&R, while Salvatore Maicki, longtime member of the FADER editorial team, has been upped to creative content manager. Elsewhere, Yasmine Panah has been named senior marketing manager and Josh Hymowitz has been appointed new project manager.

Colwell started as a music journalist in Washington, D.C. before joining EQT, where he worked on publicity campaigns for artists. In 2015, he relocated to Los Angeles, where served in an A&R role at Alex Da Kid’s label KIDinaKORNER. He went on to roles at boutique management firms UP Management and Ozone Entertainment before founding Real Time management — which manages Zack Villere, altopalo and Cooper Holzman — in 2019.

Maicki joined FADER in early 2018 as a founding member of the editorial team after serving in roles at Complex, i-D, and NPR’s Tiny Desk. In his editorial position, he reported on industry news, curated the weekly “Songs You Need In Your Life” column and profiled numerous artists. In 2021, he helped launch “The FADER Interview” podcast as an associate producer and co-host.

In a statement, FADER Label co-founder and CEO Jon Cohen praised Colwell for being “essential in helping our artists navigate the recording process and find the right producers, co-writers and resources” and Maicki as “is the perfect partner to help our artists execute their creative vision and develop the best visuals, videos, photography and messaging to support their music.”

Panah started her career at Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records and later worked at the marketing and creative agency WMA. She later joined Billboard’s brand partnership’s team, where she helped execute experiential and content programs for the Billboard Music Awards, Billboard Women in Music and more. She will lead all marketing campaigns at FADER Label.

Hymowitz previously worked in the dance/electronic music programming department at Sirius XM, where he helped produce live interviews and guest mixes, music selection, and festival coverage at EDC Vegas and others. After taking on a DJ residency at Opium Barcelona, he rejoined Sirius XM as part of their promotions and event marketing team and later worked in Universal Music Group’s UMG content department. In 2019, Hymowitz joined FADER Label, where he will now assist the team in all marketing and creative efforts across the roster, specializing in the digital aspects of releases. He doubles as a day-to-day manager for FADER’s artist management arm and curates their monthly industry newsletter.


Fabiana Kulick has joined Live Nation’s concerts team as the new head of Latin marketing, the company announced Wednesday, Sept. 1.

In the role, Kulick will be responsible for developing “dynamic” strategies for each artist, including national marketing efforts across mainstream and Latin media, according to a press release, with a focus on traditional and non-traditional marketing as well as media partnerships and integrated marketing strategies.

“As we continue to see the incredible rise of Latin music and touring to the forefront of mainstream culture, it is more important than ever that our Latin team continues to grow with and reflect the music and artists we are putting out on the road,” said Omar Al-joulani, head of talent & touring for Live Nation Concerts. “Fabi brings nearly two decades of knowledge and experience working in the Latin space and we couldn’t ask for a stronger leader to head up our marketing efforts as we continue to ramp up the return of live music.”

In 2008, Kulick founded her entertainment label, where she managed artists and worked on the production and marketing of live shows for acts such as Calle 13, Tego Calderon, Zion & Lennox, David Guetta and Deadmau5. Most recently, she was the senior label manager and director of international repertoire at Warner Music Latina, where she was responsible for planning and executing marketing strategies in the U.S. Latin market and the LATAM region. — Griselda Flores


Warner Chappell has hired Natalie Madaj to lead the digital team as senior vp, global digital. She succeeds executive vp, global digital strategy Eric Mackay, who will remain with the company until early 2022 to assist with the transition.

Madaj has been with Warner Chappell since 2018, when she joined as vp, digital licensing, North America. She was promoted to senior vp, digital licensing, Americas this past January. Alongside Mackay, she has spearheaded global commercial digital initiatives, with an emphasis on North and South America. During her tenure in the role, the company has renewed important digital deals and entered new relationships with companies including Equinox, Peloton, Snap and TikTok.

In a joint statement, Warner Chappell co-chair and CEO Guy Moot and COO Carianne Marshall said Madaj “has an incredible eye for identifying trends and has spent the last few years finding creative ways to integrate our writers’ songs into exciting new technologies” and praised Mackay for building “a talented and forward-looking team that’s prioritized strengthening our relationships with DSPs around the world.”

Chris Granger has joined Oak View Group (OVG) as CEO of OVG Facilities. The announcement follows news of OVG’s merger with Spectra earlier this week.

Reporting to Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke and based out of Detroit, Granger will oversee OVG Facilities, OVG Media & Conferences, and the OVG Arena Alliance. His efforts will also focus on sustainability, public safety, and sanitization solutions across all venues.

“Anyone and everyone that has worked with him knows he is a class act and leads by example,” said Leiweke of Granger. “In addition, he is like us, dreaming for what we could be as an industry and thinking outside the box.”


Granger was most recently group president of sports & entertainment at Ilitch Holdings, which he joined in 2017. In that role, he oversaw all aspects of business operations for the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, the company’s joint venture interest in 313 Presents and the operations of Little Caesars Arena, Comerica Park, Detroit’s historic Fox Theater, DTE Energy Music Theater, Meadow Brook Amphitheater and Michigan Lottery Amphitheater at Freedom Hill.

Prior to Ilitch, Granger was president of the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Basketball Holdings, LLC. Before that, he worked in various roles at the NBA over a 14-year stretch, including as executive vp of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations function, where he advised NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League teams in all areas of business operations.

Warner Music Nashville has promoted four employees: vp streaming Tim Foisset to senior vp commercial partnerships; senior director interactive marketing Brooke Hardesty to vp interactive marketing; vp strategic marketing Victoria Mason to senior vp strategic marketing & analysis; and vp artist development Shane Tarleton to executive vp artist development.

Foisset, who started his career at Burly Bear Network in 1998, will work to maximize marketing opportunities and revenue potential with Warner Music Nashville’s partners in streaming, digital retail, e-commerce, D2C and more. He also previously served as manager of consumer marketing at Fuse Networks and director of digital marketing at Razor & Tie.

With her team of five, Hardesty has worked to tailor digital experiences, from live event activations to social media campaigns. She previously worked in radio promotion at CCM record label Word Entertainment and in account services at J&A.

Mason spearheads audience and fan development strategy via the touring, brand partnerships, analytics, interactive marketing and video strategy teams. She has been with Warner Music Nashville since 2011, following three years at Nielsen.

Tarleton started his career at Titley/Spalding Artist Management and later spent six year in the art department at RCA Label Group. He later worked in Las Vegas, where he produced events for MGM Properties. He has been with Warner Music Nashville since 2010, when he joined the company as creative director.


Universal Music Publishing Nashville has promoted Missy Roberts to vp, A&R from senior director, A&R. She will continue reporting to UMPG Nashville chairman/CEO Troy Tomlinson.

Roberts represents UMPG songwriters including Ingrid Andress, Justin Ebach, Paul DiGiovanni and Brandi Carlile. Before joining UMPG, she served in A&R roles at Sony Music Nashville, Disney Music Publishing Nashville, Stage Three Music and EMI Music Publishing.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Missy and watching her grow as a leader over a number of years,” said Tomlinson in a statement. “Her thoughtful approach when signing songwriters and setting up collaborations make her an absolutely excellent example of what A&R should look like. Missy’s voice on our team and within the Music Row community position her well for this leadership role.”

Big Night Talent (BNT) is welcoming Austin Kramer, the former global head of dance & electronic music at Spotify, as director of talent strategy.

In the role, Kramer will extend his reach to artist management, record release roll-out strategy, A&R and strategic planning with all Big Night Talent artists.

BNT was launched by Big Night Entertainment in Aug. 2020 to help both emerging and established talent to develop and sustain careers. It is led by managing partner Tim Bonito, principals Randy Greenstein and Ed Kane and creative director Scott Heigelmann. Its roster includes DJ/producers Black Caviar, Kastra, syence and partywithray.

Big Night Talent boasts management and booking services, creative, a media and digital content platform, a career development program and a collection of entertainment venues. Most unique is what the company calls its “proprietary legacy-building model, which is designed to ensure that artists are enabled to manage their personal and professional lives successfully while navigating the industry safely,” according to a release. The model’s “cornerstones” encompass social good, creative, creative commission structure, sponsorship & branding and mental health.


Big Loud Records has hired Duane Hobson as director of promotion (Southeast). He’ll report to senior vp of promotion Stacy Blythe.

A more than 20-year industry veteran, Hobson will work alongside fellow director of promotion (Southeast) Sarah Headley to promote the Big Loud roster – which includes Morgan Wallen and Jake Owen – across the region. Hobson and Headley take over from former regional director Tyler Waugh, who was upped to national director promotion earlier this summer.

Hobson’s more than 20-year career has spanned A&R roles at RCA Records, Sony/BMG, and Sony Music Nashville. He has also worked as an A&R industry consultant for the University of Georgia’s Music Business Department and Kennesaw State University’s Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program. Most recently, he was A&R collaborative manager/tour manager at Edge Artist Management. He has additionally consulted for Intercept Music along with several independent artists and producers.

Cee Barrett has been hired as director, creative at Kobalt.

Based in Los Angeles, Barrett arrives at Kobalt with over 10 years of experience in the artist and songwriter community. He previously served as an executive in the R&B/hip-hop department at Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI), where he signed established and emerging talent, developed and maintained relationships with songwriters, publishers, managers and attorneys and played a key role in planning several events. While at BMI, he signed Bryson Tiller, SZA, Ella Mai and Megan Thee Stallion.

In his new role, Barrett will be responsible for discovering and signing songwriters while facilitating new opportunities for Kobalt’s existing roster.


Switzerland-based tech company Utopia has hired Roberto Neri to be its next COO. A former executive vp, UK, and head of European business development for Downtown Music Holdings, Neri will conduct his new executive role from London and will report directly to Utopia’s CEO Markku Mäkeläinen.

As COO, Neri will be responsible for configuring Utopia’s office blueprint, which includes over 100 employees around the globe, and spearhead commercial and business operations at the company. While the new Utopia COO is leaving his previous post at Downtown, he will remain the chair of the Music Publishers Association and a board director for UK Music.

Neri says that he is “truly excited” to work with the Utopia team and to be “enhancing value for creators,” noting that “fair pay for every play is what [the company] stands for.”

Known for their expertise in monitoring music consumption globally and collecting royalty payments on behalf of artists, Utopia aims to address some of the systemic inadequacies in royalty collection in the music business. The company’s CEO adds, “Roberto’s connections and positions of trust will tremendously enhance our reach in an industry we all love and are absolutely obsessed with making the best it can possibly be.”