On his second day as CEO of Def Jam Records, Eminem manager Paul Rosenberg has named Rich Isaacson EVP/GM of the label. Isaacson, a key player in the rise of 1990s hip-hop powerhouse Loud Records, was mostly recently running his own RI Entertainment management company, overseeing the careers of Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer and producer Gustavo Santaolalla as well as singer-songwriter Mika. He and Loud founder Steve Rifkind also run a pair of publishing companies, Merokee and Voco. The news was first reported by Hits.
At Loud, Isaacson and Rifkind oversaw the rise of acts including Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Xzibit, Funkmaster Flex and Three6Mafia. The label and its sister company SRC were renowned for its national street marketing teams, a process that New York native Isaacson oversaw, which brought the tactics used by underground hip-hop acts to a mainstream level: major companies like Nike, Pepsi, Levi’s, Universal Pictures and Hugo Boss ultimately became involved.
A graduate of Cornell University, Isaacson attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and began his career at the New York law firm of Shea and Gould, but soon joined Rifkind in Los Angeles, which had just secured a deal with BMG-affiliated imprint Zoo. Rising with the success of Wu-Tang Clan and other acts, over the following decade the company moved from RCA to Sony Music, which ultimately purchased it and merged it with Relativity.
In 2002, Isaacson partnered with Sony exec and Latin-music expert Jerry Blair on The Fuerte Group marketing and management company.