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Executive Turntable: Moves at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, BMG, AWAL, Gibson & More

Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) named Mitch Ballard senior director of creative on Feb. 19 for the company’s new office in Austin, Texas. He will report to Jody Williams, vp creative, and Mason Hunter, assistant vp creative, both in the company’s Nashville office.

“With a strong background in music and tech, native Texan Mitch Ballard is the perfect fit to head our new Austin office,” said Williams. “He is a proven leader who really understands the creative culture of Austin and the songwriter’s contribution to the fabric of Texas music. We look forward to Mitch’s contribution to BMI’s success as we embark on this new adventure.”


Sony/ATV Music Publishing announced a number of promotions and new hires to strengthen its business and legal affairs department on March 5. Nicole Giacco has been promoted to senior vp business and legal affairs, Ryan Raichilson has been promoted to director of business and legal affairs, and Melissa Yermes is joining the team as an associate director. All three will report to Peter Brodsky, Sony/ATV’s executive vp of business and legal affairs. Molly O’Neill has also been hired as a coordinator, who will report to senior vp Michael Abitbol and vp Dag Sandsmark, both of the business and legal affairs department.


European independent music agency PIAS announced March 6 that Vanessa Picken will be joining the team as head of digital for America, Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. Picken will report to Colin Daniels, the company’s managing director for America and Asia Pacific, while also continuing to oversee the U.K. and Australian business of Sydney-based digital agency Comes With Fries, which she founded and wholly owns.

"Vanessa has an impressive track record for constantly delivering successful digital campaigns for artists and labels through her agency, Comes With Fries," said Daniels. “I’m ecstatic Vanessa has agreed to join us as we continue to broaden our American and Australian businesses and strengthen our commitment to the fast growing Asian market.”

“I’ve always wanted to challenge myself and keep evolving my business, so this growth with PIAS feels like a perfect next step, Picken added. “I’m thrilled to be joining Colin, Adrian and the team who are just as driven to innovate, transform and expand the digital music industry.”


Gibson Brands announced the hiring of Mark Agnesi on March 6 for the newly-created position director of brand experience. He will report to Gibson chief merchant officer Cesar Gueikian at the company’s Nashville headquarters.

“As we set the stage for the future, we need leaders who balance our iconic legacy with a creative lens on the future . . . and Mark is that guy,” said Gibson CEO James "JC" Curleigh of Agnesi’s hiring.


Kobalt’s recording company AWAL announced on March 7 that Chris Hardy has been hired head of operations for Canada. Based in the company’s new Toronto office, Hardy will act as Canadian liaison for AWAL’s global clients, as well as serve as point of contact for the North American A&R team.

“Canada is an incredibly important music market and it’s crucial that we build a team that is capable of delivering for the artists, managers and labels we work with,” said Ron Cerrito, AWAL’s president, North America. “Chris has deep experience and relationships in the Canadian market and industry at large, which is why we are thrilled to add him to the growing AWAL team.”


Maria Schneider has been appointed as artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Schneider’s appointment, announced March 7, is expected to be a school-wide residency for one week in each of the next three semesters — spring 2019, fall 2019 and spring 2020.

“I am thrilled to welcome Maria Schneider back to our Frost family as artistic director of the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra,” said Shelton G. Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music. This is truly a match made in music heaven. Not only is Maria a multi-Grammy winner, NEA Master and one of the most celebrated composers of our time, she is a trailblazing advocate for music industry rights and education. We look forward to the brilliance she will bring to our school and students.”


On March 7, BMG announced Michael Kachko's promotion to senior vp catalog recordings. He will report to Peter Stack, executive vp global catalog recordings, after previously serving as vp catalog recordings in the U.S.

“Michael has been a valuable asset for BMG and our esteemed clients,” said Stack. “His respect for artists and their creative vision, coupled with his profound knowledge of their music has been instrumental in BMG’s growing success as one of the world’s leading catalog recordings operation.”


ONErpm has hired Charles Hendricks as director of partner relations, the company announced on March 7. Based in New York, he will be responsible for developing and executing social media, marketing and playlisting strategies for the company’s roster of artists and labels.

“Charles brings a unique mix of personal experience as an artist, established relationships with DSPs, and promotional know-how to ONErpm,” said Emmanuel Zunz, ONErpm founder and CEO. “This experience will enable him to brainstorm and secure even more valuable placements for our roster of artists and labels, expanding their profiles throughout the U.S. and the world.”


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