Shimmel inking for LaFace prexy post

In an unusual move, personal manager Mark Shimmel is in final negotiations to become president of LaFace Records, the highly successful label launched four years ago by Antonio (L.A.) Reid and Kenneth (Babyface) Edmonds.

The label is currently the hottest pop/R&B outfit in the music business thanks to artists such as Outkast, Az Yet, Donell Jones and Toni Braxton. The latter is among the label’s biggest successes, and her latest release, “Secrets,” has sold more than 3.2 million copies in its 31 weeks of release.

Sources said Shimmel, whose client roster boasts Tony Rich and Lina Santiago, among others, is putting the final touches on a seven-figure pact that would allow him to keep his L.A.-based management business in action while he shuttles to LaFace’s Atlanta headquarters.

The move to nab Shimmel for the label’s top spot is a head-scratcher among many industry execs.

Little experience

The music biz vet, who also reps John Denver and Maria Conchita Alonso, has had little experience among the record company ranks and is stepping into an R&B-heavy label that has been hot since its 1993 bow and seemingly needs no help.

Shimmel will work closely with Reid, who has been primarily responsible for the label’s day-to-day operation along with Dorsey James, the former MCA Music Entertainment Group finance exec who is LaFace’s chief financial officer.

Edmonds will continue to function as a producer-at-large, producing and writing for some of the label’s artists in addition to his work with outside acts.

LaFace extended its relationship with Arista Records by inking a five-year deal in 1995.

Shimmel declined to comment.

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