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Inside Track: The Frontrunner to Helm WMG Latin; Azoff’s Executive Search

The debut of Billboard's Inside Track column, which covers the latest developments in the music industry, reports on the frontrunner for the head of Warner Music Group's Latin America and Iberia…

Edited by Dan Rys

Warner Closes in on New Latin Leader
The guessing game is over on who will replace longtime president of Warner Music Latin America and Iberia Iñigo Zabala when he retires at the end of 2021.

Inside Track hears that Warner Recorded Music CEO Max Lousada and president of international recorded music Simon Robson, who were looking outside the company for Zabala’s successor, have narrowed their search considerably.

A source familiar with the search says the frontrunner is Alejandro Duque, managing director of Universal Music Latino, Machete and Capitol Latin and a protégé of Jesús López, chairman/CEO of Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula. Duque, who’s in his late 30s, grew up in the Latin music business thanks to his father, who was a record executive in Colombia and took his first job with Universal in his home country.

The source says WMG has also had conversations with or about Alex Gallardo, president, Sony Music U.S. Latin; Gustavo Lopez, CEO of Saban Music Group (as well as a partner) and the original president of Universal’s urban Latin label, Machete Music; and Nir Seroussi, executive vp at Interscope Geffen A&M Records, where his purview is Latin music. Duque had not responded at publication time. Gallardo, Lopez and WMG declined to comment. Seroussi responded, “It’s not me.”  – Frank DiGiacomo


Irving Azoff
Irving Azoff Courtesy of AMSG

Azoff Is Hiring

Irving Azoff has taken another step forward with the new record label and music publishing venture he’s launching with son Jeffrey Azoff and former Columbia Records urban music co-head Shawn Holiday.

An insider says Azoff, who ran MCA Records in the 1980s and his own label Giant in the ’90s, has hired executive search firm James & Co. to find a leader to help run the label. Another source says Holiday will be involved in both the label and publishing sides of the start-up, and that Sony Music will almost certainly not be involved, as other publications have reported.

James & Co., which specializes in finding C-suite candidates for media and entertainment companies, was founded by Michele James and business partner Roysi Erbes in 2002 after James worked as AOL Time Warner’s chief talent scout. The firm’s clients have reportedly included the NFL, ESPN, Oxygen Media and SiriusXM. James and Erbes did not return calls requesting comment, and a rep for Azoff was unavailable for comment. – F.D.

If you have a tip or story for Inside Track, contact dan.rys@billboard.com