×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Duffell exits Virgin Group prexy post

Presided over brand's successful expansion

Ian Duffell, prexy and CEO of Virgin Entertainment Group, has ankled his post as chief of the highly successful Virgin MegaStores chain.

The move comes as the music retailer is poised to bow six new stores this year, and follows the splashy opening of the Orlando, Fla., store last October on the new retail corridor at Walt Disney World.

Virgin was also contemplating opening a hotel and casino in Las Vegas and has plans to build a chain of Virgin Cinemas on the drawing board.

During Duffell’s 10-year run, the chain grew from its Sunset Boulevard flagship in Hollywood to 13 U.S. outlets with $200 million in annual revenue, an industry record.

The stores, which include the highly successful Times Square location, also had the highest per-store revenues in the music industry, despite non-mall-based locations.

“It’s time to do something equally challenging as building the Virgin brand, as we’ve done over the past decade,” Duffell told Daily Variety. “But it’s always difficult to leave what has become your family.” He said he has no immediate plans.

Duffell, whose interim replacement will be Simon Wright, a U.K.-based finance exec for Virgin Entertainment, also bowed outlets in Australia and the U.K.

Sales slump

Industry insiders note that Duffell shepherded and grew the chain at a time when the U.S. music industry was in a sales slump and faced soft revenues for more than two years.

While several venerable chains teetered on the verge of bankruptcy, Duffell was widely credited with maintaining a profitable, well-run business as well as creating an exciting retail environment that enticed consumers.

Execs at the Big Six music congloms uniformly praised Duffell and his team.

“I have a great deal of respect for Ian, and I will miss him,” Henry Droz, prexy of Universal Music & Video Distribution, told Daily Variety, echoing the comments made by many conglom chieftains who were surprised by Duffell’s exit. “Virgin has been a great account. Ian and (his team) have done everything they promised they would do, and have done it in a very classy and professional manner.”

Casino tabled

Virgin has tabled its plan to build the hotel and casino, but is advancing on its plan to build a web of Virgin Cinemas.

The casino concept has been slowed in response to the highly competitive atmosphere developing in Las Vegas, where thousands of new hotel rooms will become available in the coming year.

But several theater complexes remain on the drawing board and will advance the concept begun by the Virgin MegaStores Times Square location, which boasts a multiplex on its top floor.

Duffell, a 25-year vet of the music business, worked with Sony during its launch of the compact disc and helped turn around U.K.-based HMV Stores, the music retailer led by EMI, before joining Virgin.

More Music

  • Taylor Swift attends the Time 100

    Taylor Swift Makes a Pre-Single Splash With Time 100 Gala Performance

    Just two nights out from Taylor Swift D-day spring 2019 — i.e., Thursday’s release of a new single — Swift made an appearance Tuesday at the Time 100 event in New York, where she did not let loose with any spoiler performances of new music but did sing a few fan favorites, including “Style,” “Delicate,” and [...]

  • Britney Spears Musical

    Britney Spears Posts Video Reassuring Fans 'All Is Well'

    Britney Spears took to Instagram Tuesday to reassure her fans that “all is well” after some expressed fears for her well-being. “Hi guys, just checking in with all of you that are concerned about me,” she said in a video. “All is well, my family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety, [...]

  • Tootsie review

    Broadway Review: 'Tootsie'

    The new Broadway adaptation of “Tootsie” is old-fashioned and proud of it — and it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser, in this musical spin on the 1982 film comedy with Santino Fontana in the Dustin Hoffman role. Robert Horn (book) and Tony-winner David Yazbek (score) have a high old time poking fun at theatrical rituals — the [...]

  • Us Musician Michael Franti Performs on

    Michael Franti Signs Worldwide Publishing Deal With Position Music

    Michael Franti has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Position Music to maximize opportunities for his new music in film, television, advertising and gaming outlets. The singer and songwriter, best known for the 2010 hit “The Sound of Sunshine,” also moonlights as a poet and filmmaker and is known to promote social causes and humanitarian [...]

  • Billie Eilish Coachella Day 2

    Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper, Post Malone to Headline Life Is Beautiful Festival

    Billie Eilish, Chance the Rapper, Post Malone and the Black Keys are a few of the more than 70 artists set to perform at the seventh annual Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, which takes place from Sept. 20-22. Following sold-out shows for the last two years, the rapidly growing festival brings several musicians hot [...]

  • Britney Spears Musical

    Britney Spears Musical 'Once Upon a One More Time's' Film Rights Land at Sony

    Sony Pictures has won screen rights to the Broadway-bound “Once Upon a One More Time,” a fairy tale featuring classic songs from Britney Spears, sources have confirmed to Variety. John Davis’ Davis Entertainment will produce the film along with Spears and her manager, Larry Rudolph. Neither a writer nor a director has yet been attached. [...]

  • NSYNC

    Is *NSYNC Planning a Reunion Without Justin Timberlake? 'There Are Offers'

    It’s a legitimate question. Following the surprise appearance of *NSYNC members Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick with Ariana Grande at the Coachella music festival on April 15, could the group stage a comeback play without Justin Timberlake? The foursome took to the stage deep into Grande’s song “Break Up With Your [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content