BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – April 4, 2007 -- EMI Christian Music Group (EMI CMG) has appointed David Crace to the newly created position of Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, and elevated three other executives, effective immediately.
Crace will be supported in his new role by Greg Bays Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, EMI CMG Distribution; Denise George, who has been named Vice President of Strategic Marketing for EMI CMG and Mark Adkison who has been appointed Vice President of Digital Development and Strategy. Additionally, Leisa Byars has been promoted to Vice President of Artist Development for EMI CMG Label Group filling the role vacated by Crace.
“Given the challenges we are facing in this industry, we recognize the need to intensify our efforts in the areas of marketing and new technology. I’m thrilled that we have the strength from within our organization to fill these new key roles vital to our continued success. I could not be more proud of David, Greg, Denise, Mark and Leisa and look forward to their continued contributions toward the achievement of our vision to impact popular culture through music,” said Bill Hearn, President & CEO, EMI CMG.
CRACE APPOINTED SR. VP & CMO
As Sr. VP and CMO, Crace will lead the development of the company’s marketing and technology innovation, strategic partnerships, consumer understanding and research, retail channel management and catalog development strategies, and will be responsible for advancing those initiatives through EMI CMG’s labels and other businesses. Crace will report directly to Hearn.
“More than ever, the pace of change in our business dictates that innovative approaches are used to better understand consumers in order to more effectively connect them with our artists and music. This new team will help to make our entire organization more consumer- and technologically-driven and more competitive. David is a gifted marketer and instinctive leader, and I can think of no one better suited to become our first CMO,” said Hearn.
A Duke University MBA, Crace spent ten years in consumer brand marketing with Procter & Gamble and Coca Cola before joining EMI CMG seven years ago. Most recently he has led EMI CMG Label Group’s Artist Development and Consumer Relationship Marketing as Sr. V.P. of Artist Development and Marketing. Prior to that Crace was VP of Marketing for EMI CMG Distribution.
GEORGE AND ADKISON TAKE ON NEW ROLES
Among Crace’s new team and direct reports will be Denise George and Mark Adkison. George moves from VP of Strategic Marketing at EMI CMG Label Group to VP of Strategic Marketing, for EMI CMG. She will now be responsible to serve all EMI CMG labels in the areas of strategic marketing partnerships, sponsorships, and film/TV licensing. In addition she will oversee marketing of the WoW Hits brand and will help to develop private label and direct response products, soundtracks, compilations, and key artist catalog initiatives through a newly launched StarSong label which she will direct.
George is a Baylor University graduate and a 13-year veteran of EMI CMG, working primarily in artist development and marketing roles. She has been instrumental in the careers of Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, CeCe Winans, David Crowder Band and Nichole Nordeman, and involved in the success of special projects like the “Chronicles of Narnia” inspired-by soundtrack and the Worship Together Series with TimeLife. Prior to EMI CMG, George worked for Youth Specialties and Youth Ministry Resources.
In his new role as VP of Digital Development and Strategy, Adkison will now be charged with developing and promoting the digital format as a means of driving music sales through both retail and digital channels. He will be responsible for pursuing new technology-based promotions, partnerships and initiatives and helping all proprietary and distributed labels to manage their relationship and interactive marketing strategies.
Adkison joined the EMI CMG family in 1993 with ForeFront Records serving a variety of roles in promotion and marketing. At Forefront, he was influential in the careers of dcTalk, tobyMac, Stacie Orrico, Audio Adrenaline, and Rebecca St James. Prior to this promotion, he was VP of Interactive Marketing at EMI CMG Label Group where he directed digital development for 42 websites, launched HearItFirst.com and led the company’s entry into online constituent relationship management (eCRM).
Rounding out Crace’s leadership team is Greg Bays, Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing for EMI CMG Distribution. Greg maintains his leadership of the company’s Distribution division with responsibility for physical, digital and international retail sales and marketing strategies.
“These professionals are not only well equipped with the practical and technical skills needed for a first-rate marketing team, but they share a determined spirit to take the challenges that rapidly changing technologies offer and transform them into opportunities for growth in our business,” said Crace. “And, above all else, Denise, Mark and Greg are passionate about the music we are charged with promoting.”
BYARS MOVES TO ARTIST DEVELOPMENT VP
Replacing Crace as VP of Artist Development and Marketing EMI CMG Label Group will be Leisa Byars, who had previously reported to him as VP of Consumer Marketing. Byars will now report directly to EMI CMG Label Group President Peter York. She will be responsible for artist development, relationship marketing and publicity. Prior to coming on board at EMI CMG in 2004, Byars was with Ford Motor Company in Retail Development, Consumer Research and Brand Marketing. She has an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“Leisa Byars brings vast experience and an exciting perspective to Artist Development for the Label Group. Her focus is the consumer and how to service their needs, to build loyalty in that community and ultimately to grow the impact of our artists and their music. I am grateful to have someone of her caliber on our team and am confident she will bring fresh innovation and creative thinking to the marketing & artist development process,” said York.
Brentwood, Tennessee-based EMI Christian Music Group was formed in 1994. It is the world’s largest Christian music company, and is a unit of EMI Music, the third largest music company in the world.
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CONTACT: Tricia Whitehead, Spinhouse Public Relations, 615-599-7746 or Spinhouse@bellsouth.net