Foster nabbed as exec VP of operations
BMG North America topper Bob Jamieson has brought five new execs on board as part of ongoing efforts to restructure the troubled major label group and return it to profitability.
Moves are part of the official separation of the North America division from its worldwide corporate parent BMG Entertainment after they were run as a single unit under ex-chief exec Strauss Zelnick, who oversaw both entities until his departure last year.
At the top of the new appointments is Neil Foster as exec VP of operations. Foster will help run finance, technology, operations and production for BMG N.A. Exec comes from BMG unit RCA, where he most recently served as general manager of operations.
Jim DiMuro, another RCA vet, was tapped senior VP of strategic marketing. DiMuro, who held a similar position at RCA and was formerly an exec at 20th Century Fox, will oversee marketing initiatives and strategic alliances for the division.
Former BMG Music Publishing legal VP Stanley Schneider will be senior VP of legal and business affairs for North America, handling the company’s deal-making and acting as a liaison between BMG North America and industry trade org the Recording Industry Assn. of America.
Jim Blauvelt steps in as VP of human resources for North America, sliding over from the same post at parent BMG Entertainment as part of the restructuring. Exec has also held HR posts at MTV, consumer products firm Arm & Hammer and telco MCI Intl.
Former Wall Street Journal scribe Patrick Reilly was officially named VP of corporate communications, moving from a senior VP post at BeCG, the e-commerce group of BMG parent Bertelsmann.
Slew of shuffles
Appointments follow a slew of changes in BMG’s New York executive suite over the past year, beginning with the departures of Zelnick and chairman Charles Dornemann last November. Among the other execs to leave were chief financial officer Tom McIntyre, tech chief Kevin Conroy and senior VP Drew Lipsher. Conroy has since joined America Online as head of its music division and Lipsher moved into a top executive post at News Corp.
BMG has moved aggressively to cut costs and trim staff in recent months, responding to a slump in the overall music market and projections of a $150 million loss in 2001 for the Bertelsmann unit. Sources close to the situation have said planned layoffs could affect as many as 600 employees at the group, whose labels include RCA and Arista Records.