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MESTEL TO BE NO. 2 AT ARISTA

Commander Riker To Remain No. 1, Lieutenant Commander Data To Advise
Former Chris Blackwell loyalist Larry Mestel is expected to be named Executive VP/GM at Arista Records, second-in-command to newly anointed President/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid.

Most recently, Mestel was COO of Blackwell's Palm Entertainment. Before the Palm Entertainment gig, Mestel served as the COO of Island Entertainment Group, the company that helped make Blackwell a music industry legend.

Talk of Mestel's appointment surfaced at the BMG Distribution convention currently taking place in Toronto. The convention appearance of former Columbia promotion honcho Jerry Blair, whose appointment to a high-level post at Arista has been expected for weeks (hitsdailydouble.com, 7/6), fueled speculation even further. Blair has yet to be officially named to the new Arista team, but sources said, the deal would likely be done imminently.

Mestel, who reports to Reid, will oversee business affairs, international, finance, production, special markets, administration, sales and West Coast operations.

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