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Flom insiders say that Jason is telling his close associates that he’ll be a major player at UMG as soon as barrister Allen Grubman can work out his new deal.
THE AXING OF JASON FLOM
Why It Went Down and What It Means for Atlantic, WMG and the New Free Agent
The rejiggered Warner Music Group took another step away from its storied past on Tuesday when Atlantic Records Co-Chairman and CEO Jason Flom, who has spent his entire 26-year career at the legendary label, was given his walking papers by WMG N.A. boss Lyor Cohen.

Cohen must be given credit for having an elevated sense of drama. He summoned Flom, who was vacationing at his house in Aspen, to LAX for a meeting. When Jason arrived, Lyor handed him a press release containing the bombshell: Flom, the Atlantic executive with the most seniority, was out. The release, which will be disseminated some time today, further reveals that Atlantic COO and Co-Chairman Craig Kallman will be made the label’s Chairman, while Cohen functionary Julie Greenwald becomes President.

Why was the move made? Some believe that Cohen acted on the orders of WMG topper Edgar Bronfman Jr., who is said to be reacting to the disapproval of primary investors like Thomas H. Lee Partners to the less than impressive job done so far in revamping the company and taking it public.

It’s believed that WMG will buy out Flom, who instantly becomes the industry’s hottest free agent. And with some struggling labels looking to make a dramatic move to restore credibility (a la the Knicks and the Lakers), he should have his pick of choice gigs. Indeed, he may have already made up his mind. Flom insiders say that Jason is telling his close associates that he’ll be a major player at UMG as soon as barrister Allen Grubman can work out his new deal with his acknowledged mentor, Doug Morris.

Lyor insiders are spinning that Flom was a really good song man but not a great exec—that he isn’t equipped with the administrative skills to run a big company and that his A&R expertise is rooted in phone research--locating records that are selling in particular markets and/or have airplay on very small labels and scooping up those bands or labels. Indeed, that's where much of Flom’s major successes have come from (e.g., Matchbox 20, Hootie & the Blowfish).

This may not be the end of the high-level bloodletting. Some inside WMG are saying that they expect more big changes soon, with new people in and other high-ranking execs out.
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