Azoff to head joint venture
Front Line Management has formed a joint venture with SME Entertainment Group, the L.A.-based firm that provides talent and production services for corporate events, private parties and charity functions.Front Line chief executive officer Irving Azoff will serve as CEO of the new endeavor, while SME founder-president Corey E. Shapoff will be president. Azoff is also executive chairman of Front Line’s parent, Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketmaster acquired a majority stake in the management firm in 2008; the company’s merger with Live Nation was finalized in January, and Azoff, who had been chief operating officer at Ticketmaster, took on his expanded role at the spliced entity at that time (Daily Variety, Jan. 26). Founded in 1991, SME has supplied services to corporate clients like Coca-Cola, AT&T and Hewlett-Packard. It has mounted events featuring musical talent like Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi and Azoff client the Eagles. Its keynote speakers have included President George W. Bush, former British prime minister Tony Blair, Richard Branson, Jay Leno and Magic Johnson.