Atlantic Records has named longtime label executives Craig Kallman and Ron Shapiro as the first co-presidents of the Warner Music Group imprint, filling a post that has been vacant since co-chairman and CEO Val Azzoli Azzoli held it six years ago.
Both execs will report to Azzoli, who shares his own post with venerable label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun. The teamwork aspect is something that sets Atlantic apart from many other labels, where the focus on one CEO can lead to missed opportunities, Shapiro said.
“At some other companies it’s clearly always about one person,” the former publicist told Daily Variety. “This company’s never been about that; over the past seven years at Atlantic, there’s been a senior management team that’s been running the company together.”
Shapiro and Kallman had a hand in developing a broad spectrum of acts, ranging from late R&B chanteuse Aaliyah to folk/pop singer Jewel and rockers Matchbox Twenty and Sugar Ray. According to Kallman, developing acts has always been the pair’s strong suit.
“We come together when we’re actually signing and seeking out talent. We’re pretty much always on the same page,” he said.
Kallman moves up from his post as executive VP-office of the chairman overseeing the A&R department, as well as Atlantic’s label ventures, soundtracks and cast albums. He came to the label as a VP when his own imprint, Big Beat, was acquired by the Atlantic Group in 1991.
Shapiro most recently served as executive VP and general manager of Atlantic, presiding over day-to-day operations. He started at Atlantic in 1993 as VP of media and artist relations in Los Angeles, moving up the ladder to senior VP/G.M. in New York in 1995.