Harrell exit official

Polygram confirms music biz speculation

Ending months of speculation, Polygram announced Monday that Andre Harrell resigned from his post as prexy and CEO of Motown Records, effective immediately.

The move, which had been expected, again creates instability at a label that has been searching for stability almost since it was purchased by the Dutch conglom in 1993. (Daily Variety, Aug. 11).

Motown’s day-to-day operations will be overseen by label chairman Clarence Avant and Motown’s senior staff while a search for Harrell’s replacement is conducted.

Harrell, who was asked to resign last week by Polygram prexy-CEO Alain Levy and Roger Ames, president of the Polygram Music Group, failed to deliver a successful release slate during his 22-month tenure at the venerable label despite being given what insiders claim was free reign by Levy and Ames. Harrell ankled Thursday.

The departure comes just months before the label’s biggest-selling act, Boyz II Men, was set to release its third album.

According to sources, as part of the negotiated exit, Harrell will receive the remainder of his employment pact, said to total more than $7 million.

Harrell did not return telephone calls and Levy and Ames declined to comment.

Avant, who has been chairman of the company since 1993, will oversee Motown’s roster of more than 25 artists, including Boyz II Men, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and newcomers 98 Degrees.

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