Cafaro, 333 talk numbers for U return

Exec currently a consultant for co.

NEW YORK — Two years after ankling his job as chairman and chief exec of A&M Records amid a rash of consolidation by parent Universal Music Group, Al Cafaro is in talks to rejoin the U family as head of UMG imprint 333 Music Group.

Cafaro is currently a consultant for 333, which is run by director Tom Shadyac and distributed through a joint venture between U Pictures and UMG’s Universal Records imprint.

Exec left A&M in January 1999 after Universal elected to bring the imprint under the umbrella of its flagship Interscope imprint, eliminating nearly 170 A&M employees in the process. The UMG moves were part of a companywide restructuring following then-parent Seagram’s $10.4 billion purchase of Polygram.

Cafaro confirmed that there have been “casual conversations” about expanding his role at 333 but declined to elaborate. A rep for 333 declined to comment.

Also said to be mulling an executive position at 333 is Bob Catania, a promotion exec at Giant Records, which was recently folded into parent Warner Bros. Records. Catania wasn’t reachable for comment.

Formed two years ago mainly to put out the soundtracks to Shadyac’s films, 333 has since expanded into nonsoundtrack releases.

The label last year inked two deals, one for U.S. distribution of platinum-selling Australian alt-rock group Killing Heidi and another with SoCal hard-rock quartet Zoo Story. It has plans to further expand operations, boosting A&R activities and adding staff.