News Flash: New President For Warner Bros. Records

Former Virgin Records President/CEO Phil Quartararo, whose "artist friendly" management style has been hailed by colleagues and those in the industry, was named president of Warner Bros. Records Inc., the nation's largest major label.

Quartararo, who joined Virgin at its U.S. inception in 1986 and left the label last month after a shake up at the executive level, had been the president of that company for four years. He begins his new job at the label giant that is home to such mega acts as R.E.M. early next month.

In his new position, Quartararo will work alongside Warner Bros. Records Inc. Chairman/CEO Russ Thyret, with the heads of the company's divisions -- including Reprise Records president Howie Klein and Warner Bros. Records president Steve Baker -- reporting to both men.

In a statement, Thyret, who ran the record promotions department at Warner Bros. for more than a decade, said he was pleased to have Quartararo join the company. "His track record has been extraordinary and I believe he's the right person to help focus on both the present and future with a fresh point of view." Thyret said Quartararo's "artist-friendly" management style fit well within the culture of the company, the biggest of the "big six" major labels.

That sentiment was echoed by Kevin McCabe, director of charts and formats at Radio and Records, a weekly industry newspaper that tracks radio airplay. "Phil's choice is very fitting with Warner Brothers' long-term legacy in the sense that they've always been a very artists-driven and -friendly label."

McCabe went on to say: "That's why they have the biggest roster in the business. Phil is known for working very closely with artists and being very passionate and sensitive to their needs."

Quartararo exited EMI's Virgin Records several weeks ago following an upper management re-shuffling. He was credited with helping turn Virgin, home to the Smashing Pumpkins, Janet Jackson, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, as well as such newer acts as The Verve and Blur, into a cash-cow for EMI, generating a majority of its $5.9 billion in sales last year, according to Reuters.

"I think Phil did a very good job at Virgin," said Russ Solomon, president of the 100-plus store Tower Records chain and a friend of both Quartararo and Thyret. "He's an extremely able person as far as I'm concerned and he may add a dimension that they really need."

Quartararo will assume his new position at Warner Bros. on Nov. 3. -- Gil Kaufman [Thurs., Oct. 16, 1997, 9:00 a.m. PDT]