Abbey Konowitch, the Maverick Entertainment veep who is credited with contributing to much of the success of the record label, has unexpectedly ankled his post. He leaves with more than a year left on his contract.

Sources said the departure of Konowitch, head of MTV’s programming department before joining Maverick, was a result of differences in management philosophies between Konowitch and Maverick co-CEOs Freddy DeMann and Madonna.

Label sources said Konowitch and DeMann had been at odds over the past several months, sparking rumors of Konowitch’s impending departure.

Sources suggested DeMann was irked at often being excluded from the praise aimed at Konowitch for helping to guide Maverick to prominence.

Some also suggested the ouster was precipitated by Konowitch’s attempts to restructure his contract with the label to be more reflective of deals inked by other similarly successful execs in the industry.

But DeMann denies there was any acrimony over Konowitch’s getting credit for contributing to the label’s success.

“If you think about it logically, it’s ridiculous that I’d be jealous,” said DeMann. “Guy Oseary also helped make Maverick a success and you don’t see me firing him.” DeMann declined to comment further on Konowitch’s ankling.

Managers and artists surveyed roundly praised Konowitch’s business acumen. As part of his duties, Konowitch championed Maverick’s releases with the sales and marketing staffs at Warner and Reprise Records, labels through which Maverick is distributed.

“Freddy DeMann and Madonna, Maverick Records’ partners, have accepted the resignation of Abbey Konowitch, who is departing his position at the label effective immediately,” said a statement released by the label. “Konowitch leaves to pursue other interests and opportunities.”

Industry observers note that under the aegis of Konowitch, Maverick has flourished, while other star-owned labels that started alongside Maverick have since folded.

Konowitch joined the label in July 1992.

Konowitch declined comment.

Maverick is currently riding high with successes from new-comer Alanis Morissette, whose “Jagged Little Pill” has sold more than 4 million copies, and Madonna’s “Something to Remember,” a ballad best-of disc that hovers near the top of the Billboard Top 200 chart.

“Abbey has been with us from virtually the company’s inception and has made a wonderful contribution to the growth of Maverick,” said DeMann in a statement. “We accept his resignation with regret. Madonna and I wish him all the best in the future.”

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