Few artists have the clout to get their label chiefs ousted. Garth Brooks has done it twice.
Scott Hendricks, prexy/CEO of Capitol Nashville, has ankled the post he assumed more than two years ago and will be replaced by Pat Quigley, who was previously the label’s exec veep/G.M.
The management shift clears the way for the release of “Sevens,” Brooks’ eagerly awaited studio album that had been set to bow in August.
Perhaps more importantly, the album will bow in the crucial holiday selling season and comes in time for the disc’s sales tallies to be included in EMI’s fiscal year accountings.The singer, who will announce the release date and support plans for the album at a press conference today in Nashville, withheld his support of the album while EMI execs reorganized the label.
Though Quigley is widely known to have the support of Brooks, with whom he has bonded over the years, news of the nod had many music execs scratching their heads.
While Quigley may be known inside the conglom for the handful of times he got Brooks to agree to things that none of the other execs could, observers noted that he is not considered label prexy material.
They also suggest EMI Recorded Music prexy Ken Berry made the choice out of desperation in order to get the Brooks album into the system.
“I am pleased that Pat is able to step up and take over the reigns at Capitol Nashville,” said Berry. “In the short period he has been in his current role, he has demonstrated his ability and his commitment to build on Scott’s success and take Capitol Nashville to new heights of performance.”
Berry said he’s been discussing with Hendricks the launch of a Virgin Nashville outpost.
“I am extremely hopeful that Scott will agree to take on the challenge of establishing the new company to complement our very successful Capitol Nashville operation,” Berry said. “He has demonstrated his ability to find and nurture exceptional new talent as well as further the careers of established artists.”
Expecting the ax
The demise of Hendricks had been rumored even before the ouster last May of EMI-Capitol Music Group CEO Charles Koppelman, who hired Hendricks, and exec veep Terri Santisi. The pair were axed in a restructuring that eliminated a North American management layer. (Daily Variety, May 27).
When Brooks withheld delivery of “Sevens” earlier this year, industry chatter over Hendricks’ future accelerated. Brooks said he withheld the disc, which was initially supposed to bow to coincide with his HBO special, until the restructuring at the conglom was also completed.
Quigley, a sales and marketing maven who joined EMI from Labatt’s in 1994, moved from his New York-based post to Nashville earlier this year to presumably aid Hendricks in dealing with the label’s biggest artist and the industry’s biggest-selling solo act. (Daily Variety, May 27).
“I am obviously delighted with this appointment,” said Quigley. “I have had a close association with the Capitol Nashville organization for some time now, and my most recent position working directly with Scott has really helped prepare me for the job ahead.”
Line of succession
Hendricks, whose reputation as a producer and talent-finder were well-established before he took the post at the then-dubbed Liberty Records, (Daily Variety, Feb. 28, 1995) took the prexy/CEO reins after the exit of Jimmy Bowen.
Bowen, who grew Liberty into a country music powerhouse and is widely credited with recognizing early the influence and impact the genre would have in the mainstream marketplace, was also frequently at odds with Brooks during his run.
Though Bowen stepped down from the label after being diagnosed with cancer, sources said the ankling had been orchestrated by Koppelman as part of an effort to appease Brooks.