BMG raises Rovner to RCA Records prexy

Worked with Dave Matthews Band, Aguilera

NEW YORK — Rounding out a five-month wave of sweeping executive changes at the second biggest music group in the world, BMG Entertainment has upped Jack Rovner to prexy of its RCA Records imprint from exec VP-general manager.

Rovner, whose career in the music biz spans 20 years, will both report to and replace Bob Jamieson, who was tapped in January to run the North American territories by recently installed BMG worldwide CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz.

As exec VP and G.M. since 1995, Rovner has worked with such hit RCA acts as the Dave Matthews Band, Christina Aguilera and David Gray. On Rovner’s watch, RCA’s share of the recorded music market grew to 3.2% from 1.3%.

A&R impresario

In his new role, Rovner said he’ll have direct oversight of RCA’s A&R department; he had been perceived as more of a marketing guru in his previous post. But he added that the partnership between himself and Jamieson will remain as close as ever in their new roles. “He’ll just be eight floors away rather than eight feet,” he told Daily Variety.

Promotion is the latest in a series of management changes at BMG and its affiliates, instigated in large part by the label group’s German parent, Bertelsmann. In November, chairman Michael Dornemann and CEO Strauss Zelnick exited, reportedly amid disputes with Bertelsmann brass over issues including the German conglom’s pact with Napster.

Zelnick was replaced by former BMG Intl. topper Rudi Gassner, who died before he could take office. Former TV exec and Bertelsmann creative chief Schmidt-Holtz took his place in January.

Around the same time, three of BMG’s top execs — chief financial officer Tom McIntyre, marketing chief Kevin Conroy and senior VP of business development Andrew Lipsher — all left the company as the new CEO was ready to name his own management team, which included Jamieson.

But Rovner maintained the turnover in BMG’s executive suite won’t hamper the company’s ability to sign and promote artists. “There’s change in every industry, and certainly at BMG over the last few months,” he said. “But the combination of Rolf and Bob puts us in a fabulous position. Rolf is a media expert and Bob is the music veteran.”

Before signing on at RCA, Rovner was senior vice president at fellow BMG label Arista Records. Prior to that, he worked in the marketing department at Sony imprint Columbia Records, most recently as a VP of marketing, working on campaigns for Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd.

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