RIAA’s Rosen upped to CEO

WASHINGTON — The Recording Industry Assn. of America officially anointed Hilary Rosen CEO of the music industry trade group Tuesday, a promotion which has been expected for months, if not years. Rosen replaces Jay Berman, whose retirement is effective January 1998.

Rosen, who has been with the recorded music trade org since 1987, will take over CEO responsibilities effective immediately, according to a statement released Tuesday. “Hilary’s succession to CEO is exactly what I had in mind three years ago when I made a decision to leave,” Berman said, adding, “Hilary was the first person I hired, and she has been learning how to do this job for 10 years.”

Rosen has played a leading role in lobbying for the RIAA on Capitol Hill. As the Internet developed during the past four years, Rosen has led the RIAA’s efforts to protect music copyrights in a digital environment. In 1996, Rosen created a technology division at RIAA that is responsible for evaluating new music systems such as DVD.

Rosen said Tuesday her priority will continue to be protecting the industry’s interests in an era when copyright pirates can make an unlimited number of near-perfect recordings and distribute them all over the world with a few keystrokes.

Both Rosen and Berman are widely respected for turning the RIAA around in the last decade. “Jay deserves a lot of credit for grooming Hilary for the top job,” said Matt Gerson, MCA’s top Washington rep, adding “While we will miss Jay, the industry will be well-represented without missing a beat.” Gerson also praised Berman for planning a yearlong transition that allowed Rosen to ease into her new duties.

RIAA’s board members also endorsed the promotion Tuesday. Among those offering praise for Rosen was Bob Daly, chairman and co-CEO, Warner Music Group, who said, “Her promotion is not a surprise, but a natural succession.”

“When you’re outside Washington, it’s hard to imagine how it all works. Hilary brings an insider’s knowledge to the table,” EMI CEO Jim Fifield said.

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