New groove at WB

Schuon, Leshay join as diskery is realigned

As part of a broad-based reorganization and realignment of the company, Warner Bros. Records has tapped Andy Schuon as exec veep and G.M., while Jon Leshay has been named senior veep of marketing for the label’s parent Warner Bros. Records Inc.

The exec hirings follow the restructuring in the ranks of the Warner Bros. and Reprise labels and the company’s black music operation, which resulted in the pinkslipping last week of two dozen staffers.

“The addition of Andy and Jon to our executive team ensures that we’ll be able to maximize the commitment, dedication and abilities of both artists and staff in the long term,” said Phil Quartararo, prexy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.

The consolidation was made to eliminate staff redundancies as a way of reducing costs while improving efficiencies.

A number of divisions at both labels, including A&R, product management, sales and publicity, have been restructured. The company declined to comment on the number of layoffs. The Warner Bros. Records Inc. work force hovers around 430.

Since joining the label late last year, Quartararo has been diligently searching for ways to inject fresh exec and artist blood into the venerable labels, while lowering overhead sufficiently to appease Warner Music Group chieftains.

Warner Bros. has had a spate of artist successes with discs from Loreena McKennitt and Paula Cole finding long-term homes on the pop album sales charts and, more recently, Maverick Records’ discs from Madonna and “The Wedding Singer” sound-track finding favor among fans. Reprise is on the charts with albums from Fleetwood Mac and Eric Clapton, among others.

Label execs said the Warner Bros. and Reprise labels will continue to operate as distinct and autonomous entities, despite in-dustry assertions that the two labels would be merged into one.

“Both companies are off to a great start in 1998 and this realignment will allow that focus and direction to continue to flourish,” said Russ Thyret, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records Inc. “I’m confident that the consolidation … will maximize their ability to function both as individual creative entities and as vital contributing members of our large family.”

Before joining Warner Bros., Schuon was an exec at cabler MTV and sister channel VH1, rising through the ranks to exec veep of programming for MTV before leaving the cabler in an exec shakeup. He joined the music channel from tastemaking radio station KROQ in L.A., where he was program director.

Leshay was previously senior VP of artist development for Columbia Records, a post he held for three years. Prior to Columbia, he spent five years as senior veep of promotion/marketing at Elektra Entertainment.

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