"We are still committed to having a physical presence in all of the offices that we have today. We’re not closing any branches."
——Jim Weatherson, UMVD Exec. VP


Dedicated Teams to Oversee National Accounts, While Regional Offices Will Concentrate on Marketing
Universal Music and Video Distribution has just announced a restructuring of its sales departments in a response to the growing domination of the nation’s top retail accounts.

According to EVP Jim Weatherson, although there were some layoffs, this was not a cost-cutting measure, but a "repositioning of the company."

Each of the nation’s top dozen or so accounts will now have a team at UMVD that is dedicated to that account and will consist of between two and five people. These accounts will be divided into two "channels." One being the national music specialty chains such as Trans World, Musicland, Wherehouse, Tower, etc. These account teams will report to UMVD veteran VP Mike Gillespie. The other channel will include big box and mass merchants, with those teams reporting to newly hired VP Shane Maidy, who comes from outside the music business.

Another 60 Field Sales Reps will handle the third "channel," consisting of the rest of the account base and reporting to three Field Sales Directors: Rich Grobecker in Boston, Larry Howell in Dallas and David Cline in LA.

Weatherson said that no regional offices are being shuttered, but will now be strictly marketing-oriented. They will not receive sales quotas or perform any other sales functions. And although sales teams will still be located regionally, they will report to either one of the two VPs at the home office or three Field Sales Directors in Boston, Dallas or LA.

Said Weatherson: "We are still committed to having a physical presence in all of the offices that we have today. We’re not closing any branches. We are better focusing and realigning our company by "channel" on the sales side. The people that reside in those channels will live, eat, breathe and know everything about them. Each office will now be run from a marketing standpoint. We are basically throwing our heavyweights at these marketing efforts. Most of the people who were Regional Directors are now going to be Marketing Directors. And they will have absolutely no sales responsibilities—no quotas, nor will they get paid on sales. They are, from this point on, all about marketing."

Of the eight people let go, the most notable were NY Regional Director Mike Jones and Atlanta Marketing Manager Denise Willis. Weatherson characterizes the other six as mostly clerical.