David Mount will leave Live Entertainment for WEA, taking the reins of the largest U.S. record distributor from retiring chief executive Henry Droz in September, WEA announced Thursday.
WEA is the sales and distribution arm of the Warner Music Group, which includes such industry titans as Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic Records and Elektra Records and also handles Warner Home Video, Live Video and Capitol Cities/ABC video.
Mount, Live’s president and CEO and a former WEA executive, becomes president/CEO in his return to the company.
Robert J. Morgado, the chairman and chief exec of Warner Music Group, saluted Droz, 66, as “one of the giants of America’s music business. During his remarkable 16 years as president, he directed the phenomenal growth of WEA and, in turn, influenced the course of the entire industry.”
Droz helmed WEA during its rapid growth from an upstart to industry leader, and among the accomplishments credited to him are the introduction of the branch distribution system.
Morgado also had kind words for Mount.
“I am confident that in David Mount we’ve found a person uniquely qualified to uphold the high standards established by Henry and to extend WEA’s industry leadership into the future,” he said.
“He has firsthand knowledge of music retailing and, because he runs a company whose product is distributed by WEA, he will demonstrate a sensitivity to the needs of the repertoire providers within our group.”
Mount started at WEA as a branch marketing coordinator in the Los Angeles office in 1977 and later was a field sales manager and regional sales manager. He helmed WEA’s launch into compact discs and was the first national VP of video sales and distribution. He started at Live in 1988 and helped the company restructure its public debt and its management team after some rocky financial times.
Droz began at WEA in 1972 and became the second president of the company in 1977. The organization Droz built has expanded to seven regional branch offices, nine sales offices and over 1,000 employees.