UNIVERSAL MUSIC LATIN ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES SENIOR MANAGEMENT APPOINTMENTS
Senior Execs Form Part of Team to Lead Company Following Acquisition of Univision Music Group
Miami, Florida, and Los Angeles, California, May 6, 2008 – Jesus Lopez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula, today announced part of his new senior management team for Universal Music Latin Entertainment, the newly created division encompassing Universal Music Latino, Machete, Fonovisa, Disa, Universal Music Mexico & Central America, Latin publishing in the US and Mexico–including the newly acquired Edimonsa, Disa and Fonovisa catalogs, and GTS Global Talent Services, a management service division. The appointments follow the recent close by parent Universal Music Group (UMG) of its acquisition of Univision Music Group, making UMG the North American market leader in Latin music.
Each of these new appointments will report directly to Mr. Lopez and include:
* Walter Kolm, who has been promoted to President of Universal Music Latino and Machete. Mr. Kolm’s labels will be responsible for pop, tropical, rock, Latin urban and Reggaetone music in the United States.
* Gus Lopez, who has been promoted to President of Fonovisa and Disa. Mr. Lopez’s labels will be responsible for regional Mexican music, the dominant Latin music genre in the US.
* Victor Gonzalez, President of Universal Music Mexico and Central America.
* John Echevarria, who has been promoted to Executive Vice President of Operations, Universal Music Latin America.
* Joe Rakauskas, Senior Vice President of Finance & Chief Financial Officer
* Mark Berger, Vice President of Business Affairs
* and Eddie Fernandez, Senior Vice President, Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), Latin America. Mr. Fernandez, in addition to overseeing the company’s Latin American and US publishing operations, will direct publishing activities for the Edimonsa, Disa and Fonovisa catalogs acquired with the purchase of Univision Music. Mr. Fernandez will continue to report to David Renzer (Chairman & CEO, UMPG), but also reports to Mr. Lopez with regards to Latin America and the Univision catalogs.
“Walter, Gus, Victor, John, Joe, Mark and Eddie represent the very best in creative leadership and business management,” stated Mr. Lopez. “Each possesses a wealth of experience and a real track record of success and innovation. They will each play a key role in ensuring the smoothest possible transition for everyone involved, and will no doubt help us maintain our position as the world’s leading Latin music company for years to come.”
Most recently, Mr. Kolm served as Senior Vice President of Marketing & A&R for Universal Music Latino. In this post, he was responsible for directing A&R, marketing and promotion for the US-based division. Notably, Mr. Kolm was responsible for signing such artists as La Secta, La Factoria and Mach & Daddy, among others. He also developed and implemented highly successful marketing campaigns for Juanes, Enrique Iglesias, Paulina Rubio and Rakim y Keny, among others. Prior to that, Mr. Kolm served as Managing Director of Universal Music Chile. His background also includes serving as Managing Director of the Mercury Division of Universal Music Spain, and being responsible for the opening of Universal Music International companies in Argentina and Chile. Mr. Kolm was also founder of two independent labels in Argentina, Tripoli and Main Records.
Mr. Lopez recently served as President of Machete Music, the first full service, start-up label from a major record company dedicated to the burgeoning Latin urban music market. Founded by Mr. Lopez in 2005, Machete quickly achieved unparalleled success and established itself as the nation’s leading urban Latin music company thanks to such chart-topping, multi-platinum selling artists as Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Wisin & Yandel, Luny Tunes and Hector “El Father,” among many others. In 2007, Mr. Lopez successfully expanded the scope of Machete and launched Machete Regional, a division dedicated exclusively to the discovery and development of Regional Mexican artists and repertoire. Before launching Machete, Gus served as Vice President of Latin Sales & Marketing for Universal Music Group Distribution (UMGD).
Mr. Gonzalez has served as President of Universal Music Mexico and Central America since 2006. Formerly, he served as Universal Music’s Managing Director of South Cone (Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay). Prior to this, he served as Senior Vice President of Operations at the Latin America Regional Office in Miami. Victor’s signings include pan regional Argentine rock stars Babasonicos and platinum balladeer Axel. As head of Universal Mexico and Central America, he signed newcomers El Trono De Mexico and El Chico Elizalde, both of whom had reached gold status in US and Mexico. In the rock pop area, Victor is developing Division Minuscula, Bunkers and Volovan.
Formerly, Mr. Echevarria served as President of Universal Music Latino, where he led Universal Music’s U.S. Latin music company since 2001. In this role, Mr. Echevarria was instrumental in the U.S. break-through success of such chart-topping artists as Paulina Rubio, Juanes, Enrique Iglesias, Belanova, Luis Fonsi and Cafe Tacuba, among many others. Mr. Echevarria joined Universal from Sony Music International, where he worked for eight years, last serving as Vice President, Music Publishing, Latin America.
His previous music experience includes working for several years at CBS Records and Virgin Espana in marketing and finance roles. Mr. Echevarria began his career as an analyst for Compania Espanola de Petroleos (CEPSA) in Madrid. Mr. Echevarria holds a master’s degree in Economics from Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Since 2003, Mr. Rakauskas has served as Vice President of Finance of the Univision Music Group. He was responsible for the Group’s finance function, including reporting, planning, royalties and control. He also worked on the Disa acquisition and worked closely with the Group’s Mexico operations. Prior to joining Univision, Mr. Rakauskas held several positions in the music industry including CFO/COO of Higher Octave Music, Finance Director of PolyGram Discos in Mexico and Controller of A&M Records.
With over 25 years experience in the entertainment industry, Mr. Berger has been involved in key aspects of the record, music publishing, music for film and DVD industries. Since 2004, he has served as the Vice President of Business Affairs for Univision Music Group, where he was responsible for all Univision Music record and publishing business affairs and legal activities. Prior to joining Univision, Mr. Berger served as Executive VP at Media Ventures (a company co-owned by Academy Award winning composer, Hans Zimmer, and Grammy winning producer, Jay Rifkin), where he was responsible for overseeing the Music Service Division. Mr. Berger has also held positions as a creative executive, business affairs executive, attorney, and is a professional musician. As a creative executive he was the music supervisor for several motion pictures. Mr. Berger’s background also includes stints at Morgan Creek and Capitol Records.
Mr. Fernandez joined UMPG in 2006 as Senior Vice President of Latin America. He began his career at Sony Music Publishing as head of A&R in 1991. In 1995, he became Director of A&R for Sony Discos. He left Sony in 1997 to oversee the A&R department of Universal Music Latino. In late 2003, Mr. Fernandez was hired by Sony/ATV to head the Latin American region and US Latin operation. During his career, he has played a key role in signing or re-signing such important artists as Juanes, Juan Gabriel, Christian Leuzzi, Ruben Blades, Mauricio Gasca, Luis Fonsi, Tito El Bambino, Amaury Gutierrez, Alexis & Fido, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Rudy Perez, Ricardo Arjona, Roberto Livi, Sin Bandera, Mario Domm, Ashley, Grupo Mania, top Reggaetone producer Nesty, and EMusica (Fania & Kubaney), among others.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the world’s largest music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 77 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music.
Publishing Group, the industry’s leading global music publishing operations. Its labels include Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, Machete Music, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor Records, Universal Music Latin America, Universal Motown Republic Group, Universal South Records and Verve Music Group, as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, a new media and technologies division, Bravado, its merchandising company, and Twenty-First Artists, its full service management division.
Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi, a global media and communications company.