New prexy signed Aguilera, expected to pull in more

NEW YORK — Vet producer and RCA Records exec Ron Fair has been named president of the A&M Records division of Universal Music.

Fair, RCA’s senior vice president of A&R since 1993, is best known for signing teen pop powerhouse Christina Aguilera. Aguilera’s eponymous 1999 debut album has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide to date, including 7.6 million in the U.S.

Fair also produced the hit soundtracks to “Reality Bites” and “Pretty Woman.” Interscope Geffen A&M topper Jimmy Iovine made the appointment.

Exec will face the formidable task of bringing A&M’s artist roster up to par with the group’s wildly successful flagship imprint, Interscope. A&M, while rich in catalog releases from such artists as Sting, Cat Stevens and James Brown, has lately been eclipsed by Interscope, which has mega-acts such as Eminem and Limp Bizkit.

Fair has built up an eclectic work history in the industry as both an exec and a producer-engineer. Before joining RCA, he worked as an A&R exec at EMI Records, Island Records, and Chrysalis Records. Fair’s first claim to fame in the biz came in 1976 when he co-engineered the single “Gonna Fly Now” for the “Rocky” soundtrack.

A&M was merged with Interscope and Geffen when their parent, Universal Music Group, bought A&M owner Polygram in 1999. The imprint was started in 1963 by veteran jazz-pop artist Herb Alpert and producer Jerry Moss, then sold to Polygram in 1989.

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