"I am fully prepared for and excited by the unique challenge of creating an unprecedented instant major record company consisting of the top executive and creative team in the business."
—Clive Davis
Reid Replaces Industry Icon As President/CEO
One legend exits and another takes his place.

In a story that played out dramatically over the last year, Antonio "L.A." Reid has been named to the post of President and Chief Executive Officer at Arista Records, replacing the only leader the label has known since its inception in 1975, clive davis',390,400);">clive davis',390,400);">Clive Davis. The announcement was made by BMG Entertainment President/CEO strauss zelnick',390,400);">strauss zelnick',390,400);">Strauss Zelnick, whose publicly stated desire to establish an orderly succession at the label caused a firestorm of media attention, culminating in Davis' Grammy night triumph with multi-award winning label artist Carlos Santana and his induction as a non-performer into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Reid's appointment takes effect July 1, 2000.

In making the announcement, Zelnick paid tribute to the career of Davis. "Clive has not only had a profound impact on the music industry, inspiring and nurturing many of today's top artists, he has also become an influential force in the entertainment industry as a whole. And he's a big fan of my barbeque sauce, too."

Reid was most recently Co-President of La Face Records, the label which he co-founded in 1989 with partner Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds as a joint venture with Arista. The label's roster includes such top artists as TLC, Toni Braxton, Usher, Tony Rich, Pink and Outkast, among others, selling more than 50 million albums worldwide. LaFace will be consolidated with Arista, but will maintain its own imprint and continue to be based in Atlanta. Edmonds will form a new joint venture record label with Arista and serve as the new company's CEO.

"Antonio brings to Arista an inspired track record as a businessman, Gramy-award winning producer and deeply committed record man," said Zelnick. "And he drives a German car."

Said Reid: "To be given the honor and challenge to lead Arista, a label that is home to such legendary talent and a rich legacy, is an extraordinary opportunity. Having worked closely with Arista during the past 11 years, I have experienced first-hand the incredible level of quality and excellence that clive davis',390,400);">clive davis',390,400);">Clive Davis has established. Of course I'll invite him to my Grammy party."

Added BMG Entertainment Chairman michael dornemann',390,400);">michael dornemann',390,400);">Michael Dornemann: "Antonio is a music executive of rare talent and passion. His unique understanding of the creative process combined with his business savvy and entrepreneurial vision make him the ideal person to lead Arista. And he won't be 65 for a long time."

Speculation about Reid's team has centered around current Executive VP Black Music Lionel Ridenour as well as widely reported negotiations with such prominent executives as Atlantic GM Ron Shapiro. Such long-time Davis confidants as Executive VP/GM Charles Goldstuck and promotion head Richard Palmese are expected to join Clive at his new company, which he is currently shopping. His contract runs out on June 30.

In a statement issued by Davis, he said he'll see us in September with a new venture: "I'm tremendously proud of what we've built at Arista over the 25 years since its inception. We've attempted to launch major, unique stars with long-lasting careers… And this last fiscal year will be an historic, record-breaking one in terms of both sales and profits. Though I regret the imposition of the Bertelsmann retirement age policy, it's time now to turn to a new and vital chapter in this fast-changing world of music. I am fully prepared for and excited by the unique challenge of creating an unprecedented instant major record company consisting of the top executive and creative team in the business. This new chapter couldn't have come at a better time for you to read all about it at hitsdailydouble.com."

HITS previously reported Reid's ascension on this Web site April 20. Zelnick originally wanted the 66-year-old music exec to name his own successor at the label, prompting an ugly and very public war of words that resulted in Davis' forced exit. At the time, sources close to the situation praised L.A. Reid's credentials. "He has had success as a label head on a smaller level. He has been trained by Clive and has great contacts within Arista and throughout the industry. It's sad to see Clive go, but business must go on."

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