Live makes Burlage boss

Live Entertainment Inc. has filled its nearly 5-month-old opening for president and CEO by snaring Roger Burlage from competitor Trimark Holdings Inc.

Burlage, in the midst of negotiations for a new contract with Trimark, said he took the Live post because it was a step up to a larger company.

“It’s a company that’s basically on a higher plane than the one I’m at now,” Burlage said. Live’s sales are roughly four times those of Trimark, which posted $ 60.6 million in sales for the year ended June 30.

Burlage replaces David A. Mount, who joined record distribber WEA Corp. in August. Though he notified Trimark of the move only last Wednesday, and was still in his office Thursday afternoon, Burlage expects to start at Live Tuesday or Wednesday.

He comes to Live just as the company seems to be working through the most serious of its problems. Live emerged from bankruptcy last March, and its most important supplier, Carolco Pictures, completed its restructuring in October and seems poised to return its focus to moviemaking.

“We’re going to have our cake and eat it,” said Live chairman Anthony J. Scotti. “We’re goingto have a guy who can run a company without a lot of A titles. And we’re going to start getting Carolco pictures.”

Hiring Burlage is also bound to help Live in its negotiations with banks to extend its line of credit. Live has a $ 25 million line with a group of banks led by Credit Lyonnais and Chemical Bank and another $ 37 million in debt, on which it pays 12% interest.

The company has been negotiating with the banks to raise its line of credit to $ 75 million to pay off the notes and give it more working capital to grow. But banks are typically skittish about making new loans to companies without a president/CEO.

Having Burlage aboard “certainly makes things a lot easier,” said Live general counsel Michael J. White.

Some of that new money will go toward increasing Live’s production and co-production of movies, Burlage said.

“We’re going to do acquisitions of product,” Burlage said.”They’re doing that now, but I want to do more of that.”

Burlage leaves Trimark after four years, a time in which the company’s sales jumped 50%, even as other homevid companies failed. In that time, the company also changed its name from Vidmark Inc.

Prior to joining Vidmark, Burlage was president and chief operating officer of New World Entertainment. He also was senior VP and chief financial officer of Embassy Pictures, and a senior VP of Avco Embassy Pictures.

Burlage’s contract with Trimark expired Nov. 30. “As the negotiations dragged out, this new situation presented itself,” Burlage said.

Neither Burlage nor Scotti would disclose Burlage’s pay package. Trimark chairman Mark Amin was vacationing Thursday and could not be reached.

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