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"Tom will spend the next few weeks meeting with the label's artists and all of you. For him it is a sort of homecoming, as Tom started his music-business career in the mailroom at Warner Bros. Records before going on to Capitol and Interscope."
WARNER WELCOMES
WHALLEY'S WORLD
Veteran Exec Gets Out Of Interscope Deal Early To Take Reins
Summer vacation's over for Interscope Geffen A&M President Tom Whalley. He started this week as Chairman of Warner Bros. Records Inc., after a deal was negotiated allowing him to exit four-and-a-half months before his Universal Music Group contract would have expired. Retaining his role as President, Phil Quartararo will work with Whalley in running music operations at WBR. Whalley was let out of his IGA contract after negotiations between the two competing music label groups and the exec himself.

In an internal memo circulated Monday (8/13), Warner Music Group chief Roger Ames wrote that "Tom will spend the next few weeks meeting with the label's artists and all of you. For him it is a sort of homecoming, as Tom started his music-business career in the mailroom at Warner Bros. Records before going on to Capitol and Interscope.

"This is an exciting time for Warner Bros. Records," Ames continued. "In addition to the current hit releases, there are a number of key artists set for release over the next few months. I am confident that Tom has the creative vision to lead Warner Bros. to great heights."

Ames also praised Quartararo "for his hard work and enthusiasm, as well as the sense of teamwork he has encouraged."

The vibe is as positive in Santa Monica as it is in Burbank, because IGA boss Jimmy Iovine has already rebuilt his management team in preparation for Whalley’s departure. Iovine bolstered his A&R staff by putting Jordan Schur at the head of Geffen, Ron Fair as A&M topper and placing ex-Outpost veteran Mark Williams in a key A&R role at the company.

HITS first reported in May 2000 that Ames had signed Whalley to a five-year deal said to be in the $30-40 million range, despite Whalley having nearly two years left on his existing contract.

Ames brought Whalley in to replace WBR Chairman/CEO Russ Thyret and to help boost the long-struggling music company (hitsdailydouble.com, 5/23/00).

Whalley’s appointment was the first major move by Ames after taking over as WMG Chairman/CEO. Iovine made it clear at the time that he wouldn’t let Whalley out of his IGA contract, which was to expire Jan. 1, 2002. At that point, both IGA and Warner Bros. began making moves to prepare for Whalley's eventual transition.

Thyret ankled the company last February, and Reprise President Howie Klein left in June (hitsdailydouble.com 2/28, 5/24).

Whalley went to Interscope after being let go in the summer of '90 by Capitol, where he’d been head of A&R. A member of Interscope’s founding A&R team, he was named President of IGA in December ’98, following UMG's purchase of PolyGram.

What will Whalley’s first moves be at the venerable Burbank label, which has experienced a resurgence of late with such hit acts as Linkin Park, Faith Hill, Madonna, Depeche Mode and Enya? We’ll soon find out.

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