Live Nation changing tune

Eskowitz to run N. America music

Nashville — Live Nation is consolidating its North American music operations under the leadership of Bruce Eskowitz, who has been promoted to the newly created position of CEO, North American music.

The reorganization, which comes in the wake of the departure of North American music president Charlie Walker, puts Live Nation's North American concert promotion, venue operation and sponsorship and alliances businesses into a single division. Live Nation confirms that the wheels were in motion for these changes before Walker's departure.

"We began looking at how to better manage our North American business when we acquired House of Blues in the fall," Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said. "With the addition of HOB, we needed to better align all our North American music operations under one management team. Bruce has led alliances and venues for the last few years and consistently delivered growth year over year, so he became the natural candidate to head up North America."

In his new role, Eskowitz, formerly president and CEO of global venues and alliances, will direct the North American local and national live-music strategy, including concert promotion, venue management and sponsorship/alliances. He also will oversee the management and expansion of the House of Blues clubs division as well as the ongoing expansion of the company's venue portfolio into the small and midsize level.

Several promotions were announced in connection with the reorganization of the North American music business unit. Jason Garner has been promoted to president of North American concerts, replacing Walker, where he will oversee concert promotion activities in the U.S. and Canada; Russell Wallach has been named president of alliances, overseeing all national and local sponsorship activities; Don Watson has been named executive vp of House of Blues, overseeing the HOB-branded clubs and expansion; and David Shuman has been named executive vp North American finance. All report to Eskowitz.

Live Nation's music business now comprises four major divisions: North American music, led by Eskowitz; International music, led by Carl Pernow (international) and Paul Latham (U.K.); global touring, led by Arthur Fogel, who also is chairman of global music; and global digital, led by Bryan Perez.

Ray Waddell is an executive director at Billboard.