Arista and EMI have Lott on their plates

Roy Lott, an 18-year veteran of Arista Records, has been offered the newly created No. 2 spot at EMI Recorded Music, where he is expected to assist Ken Berry in taking care of the day-to-day duties of the recently restructured conglom, according to sources.

But Lott also has a substantial offer on the table to remain at Arista, a label he helped build into an industry powerhouse alongside its chief and founder Clive Davis.

Sources said Davis and execs at Arista parent BMG have been full-court pressing Lott for several months to remain at the label.

“I hope he doesn’t go” observed a BMG exec who asked not to be named. “Roy is an integral part of Arista and it would be a loss for everyone if he left.”

Sources note that in addition to the new Arista contract, Lott is expected to see an ascension and expansion of his duties under music industry kingmaker Davis.

Lott, who still has a year left on his Arista contract, told Daily Variety on Tuesday that he had not reached a decision and would not be rushed into making one. “Both sides have been extremely gracious and positive,” he said. He declined further comment.

In the EMI post, Lott would assist the constantly traveling chairman-CEO Berry in the operation of the conglom and the oversight of the labels in the corporation.

Division chiefs and EMI execs, as well as managers and lawyers dealing with Berry, said that his road-warrior status sometimes delays his ability to quickly return phone calls or sign off on deals. It is anticipated that Lott would offer Berry relief from those tasks and others.

Capitol Records prexy-CEO Gary Gersh and Virgin Records president and CEO Phil Quartararo would continue to report directly to Berry, according to sources. But other reporting guidelines and job duties have yet to be fleshed out.

Quartararo currently is renegotiating his employment pact and also is in talks with Warner Bros./Reprise Records execs for a post there.

Though Lott, as Arista Records’ exec veep and G.M., rides herd over the handful of joint-venture labels under the Arista umbrella, at EMI he would see his duties and responsibilities markedly expanded. The conglom owns more than 15 labels.

The EMI gig also would mean Lott would have to relocate to Los Angeles, where Berry recently set up shop following a Memorial Day weekend restructuring. But the New Yorker’s desire to remain in the Big Apple is well known in the industry and must be reconciled.

A decision is expected from Lott in the near future, with some observers suggesting it could come as early as next week.

Lott will not attend tonight’s premiere and party celebrating the release of the 20th Century Fox film “Soul Food,” to which Arista has the soundtrack. He instead flew back to New York to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

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