NEW YORK — Former Island Def Jam Music Group chairman Jim Caparro confirmed that he will take the reins at WEA — Warner Music Group’s massive distribution arm — as chairman and chief exec.
Caparro will also head up a new global media manufacturing and distribution committee at WMG, with an eye toward offering “strategic direction” to the major’s global manufacturing and distribution operations.
Exec replaces David Mount, who said Friday that he will retire at the end of this year after nearly a decade on the job. As reported, he had been in final negotiations to take the top Warner distrib position late last week.
“Jim has proven himself to be thoroughly knowledgeable and highly effective at the business of distributing music,” said WMG topper Roger Ames. “His relationships with retailers run deep, and his ability to market albums effectively is the stuff of legend.”
Caparro is credited as one of the main architects of IDJ’s resounding chart success over the past few years. Label has led the pack in the U.S. for months, with a market share of 9% and hit urban acts like Jay-Z, Ja Rule, DMX and Ashanti. He also helped create former MCA boss Luke Lewis’ new imprint, Lost Highway Records, which last year yielded the multiplatinum sleeper hit “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Before signing on with IDJ in 1999, Caparro was prexy and chief exec of Polygram Group Distribution. During that tenure, he presided over double-digit sales growth and expanded into new business areas, including video, merchandising and new media.
Exec started his career nearly 30 years ago at CBS Records, working his way up through a range of sales, marketing and other posts.
The departing Mount signed on at WEA in 1993 and has streamlined the major label group’s U.S. distribution operations. He also added new units, including Warner Strategic Marketing, which exploits Warner’s back catalog for special projects and joint ventures.