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BMG Canada ups Zbitnew

Leading a 22% boost, exec named prexy, first woman

BMG Canada has upped Lisa Zbitnew to prexy of BMG Music Canada. The nod makes the industry vet the region’s first woman to top a major record label operation.

The ascension is Zbitnew’s second in less than a year. Early last year she was named general manager of BMG Music Canada, the Canadian outpost of BMG Entertainment. She joined the firm in November 1996 as group veep.

During her 18-month tenure she is credited with helping BMG Music Canada flourish and led the outfit during a record 22% boost in its sales over the previous year.

“The Canadian marketplace is a difficult one, and Lisa has done a remarkable job in a relatively short period of time,” Strauss Zelnick, prexy/CEO of BMG North America, told Daily Variety. “She has forged strong relationships within the industry, and her marketing expertise has helped the company grow significantly. Lisa and her team have done an outstanding job.”

The strength of urban-flavored releases from Puff Daddy, Mase and Wu-Tang Clan, and mainstream radio-friendly group Backstreet Boys have helped BMG Canada log impressive sales.

Its imprint, ViK Recordings, was home to a number of top-selling acts in the region such as Julian Austin, Prairie Oyster and rappers the Rascalz.

“It’s been an exemplary year for everyone at BMG Canada,” said Zbitnew, whose rise through the industry ranks began in 1983 as chief of successful Canadian indie Alert Music. She has held exec posts at Sony Music Canada and EMI Music Canada. before segueing to BMG’s outpost.

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