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Def Jam names new executive vice president

Christopher Hicks has been appointed Executive Vice President, Def Jam Recordings, it was announced today by Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Chairman, Island Def Jam Music Group.   In his new position, Mr. Hicks will assume overall responsibility for the acquisition and develop ­ment of new talent, overseeing producers and guiding the creative vision and brand recognition of the legendary Def Jam label as it celebrates its 25th year anniversary in 2009.   Mr. Hicks will report directly to Mr. Reid, and to Steve Bartels,   President & COO, Island Def Jam Music Group, on operational matters.   Mr. Hicks will be based in Atlanta and New York.

“Chris has a musician’s ear for talent and hit songs that has brought him huge long-term success in the industry,” said Mr. Reid.   “His track record in Atlanta has resulted in breaking some of the biggest names in Urban and hip-hop out of that city over the past decade.   We look forward to the next quarter-century of history with Def Jam as we welcome Chris aboard.”

Mr. Hicks comes to IDJ after nearly two years in the joint posts of Senior Vice President, Urban A&R, Atlantic Records, and Senior Vice President, A&R, and Head of Urban Music for Warner/Chappell Music. Prior to that, Mr. Hicks spent three years at Warner/Chappell as a Vice President, Urban A&R, since 2004.   There he played a key role in striking publishing agreements with T.I., Lil’ Wayne, and The-Dream, among others. Mr. Hicks was also instrumental in Warner/Chappell’s re-signing of Dr. Dre in 2005, and the purchase of the Timbaland catalog and his re-signing in 2006.   During his stint at Warner/Chappell,   Hicks re-structured the department and guided the company to unprecedented success.

Mr. Hicks began his career at the Atlanta-based music publishing company Noontime, the company he founded in 1997.   Noontime formed a joint venture with Warner/Chappell in 2000.   From 2004 to 2007, Noontime songwriters earned more than 25 Top 10 hits on the Billboard’s Hot 100 and/or Hip-Hop/R&B charts.   Mr. Hicks continued to run the company throughout his years at Warner/Chappell and Atlantic.

During his 13-year career in the music business, Mr. Hicks has identified and developed numerous artists including Noontime writers Bryan Michael Cox, Jazze Pha, Dave Young, and Teddy Bishop; as well as Warner/Chappell writers Eric Hudson, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Zak Wallace, Drumma Boy, Claude Kelly, Don Cannon and others.   Through his management activities, Mr. Hicks developed the career of Def Jam’s Johnta Austin, Billboard’s 2006 Urban Songwriter Of the Year and multi-Grammy Award Winner Bryan Michael Cox.   An executive known for connecting artists and songwriters, Mr. Hicks has worked with Usher,   Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Lopez in his many capacities as a manager/consultant/executive producer.   Mr. Hicks brought several songs to Mary J. Blige for her Grammy Award-winning album The Breakthrough (including the two-time Grammy-winning “Be Without You”).

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