Live Nation reorganizes, Eskowitz promoted


NASHVILLE -- Live Nation has consolidated 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 former North American Music president Charlie Walker, brings Live Nation's North American concert promotion, venue operation and sponsorship and alliances businesses under a single division. Live Nation confirmed Wednesday that the wheels were in motion for these structural 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 told Billboard. "With the addition of HOB, we needed to better align all our North American music operations under one management team. Bruce has lead 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."

Regarding Walker's departure, Rapino says, "Charlie has done a great job running North America Music the last few years and would have been part of the new management team if he wanted. But he decided it was time to become a entrepreneur and with his long relationship with the team at (Austin City Limits Fest) it was a perfect place fit for him. We have great respect for the ACL organization and wish Charlie all the best, and I am sure we will continue to work together in the future."

In his new role, Eskowitz, formerly president/CEO of global venues & alliances, will direct the North American local and national live music strategy, including concert promotion, venue management and sponsorship/alliances. He will also 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 mid-size level.

Several additional promotions come at LN in connection with the reorganization of its North American Music business unit, all of which will report directly to Eskowitz. 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. David Shuman has been named executive vp of North American finance.

Live Nation's music business is now comprised of 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 is also chairman of Global Music; and Global Digital, led by Bryan Perez.