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Charlie Walk is returning to the major-label fold after a three-year stretch on Madison Avenue.
The music industry vet and founder of marketing firm JWalk, which will continue, was officially named executive vp of Universal’s Republic Records, co-founder/CEO Monte Lipman said Monday. In his new role, Walk will oversee the marketing, promotion and publicity departments at the 18-year-old label and report to Lipman and his brother Avery Lipman, co-founder and president.
“Having a front-row seat as a consumer and a music executive over the past 20 years, I had the opportunity to watch Republic turn into the most competitive, forward-thinking, modern label in the business,” Walk said in a statement. “They’ve also managed to preserve an independent spirit within the massive scope of a major label. That ethos has led them to be the most important competitor in the modern landscape, and it drew me to the company. Together, we can help the transformation of the music business with amazing executives, talent and partners.”
Said Monte Lipman: “In the 25 years I’ve known him, it’s hard to imagine anyone more competitive, colorful and fearless then Charlie Walk. With parallel trajectories early in our careers, I’ve always found myself competing against Charlie for nearly two decades as we both pursued common goals. More than the success he’s had as a record executive, I’m even more impressed with his entrepreneurial spirit and ability to launch a thriving business of his own in the unforgiving world of advertising and marketing.”
Indeed, with radio smashes like Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” swift sellers like the Les Miserables soundtrack and perennials like Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album, not to mention partnerships with Nashville’s Big Machine Records (home to Taylor Swift) and Cash Money (Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne), there’s plenty to gloat about. “We’re going to be thoughtful and methodical and let the world know that Republic is partner-friendly and open for business,” the seasoned Walk, who played a key role in launching the careers of Shakira and Jessica Simpson, recently told The Hollywood Reporter.
Walk started in the music business as a college marketing representative for Sony Music, while attending Boston University’s School of Management. Upon graduating in 1990, he joined Sony as a full-time marketing and promotion manager, rising over the years to become head of the promotion division. In 1999, he was named the label’s executive vp marketing and promotion and was appointed president of Epic Records in 2005. At the end of 2008, he left the company to focus on JWalk.
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