LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Irving Azoff, the chairman of Live Nation and CEO of its Front Line Management Group, has resigned from the board of directors and left the company. The company has not identified a new chairman as of yet.
While Live Nation will retain control of Front Line Management and most of its artist roster, Azoff will continue his own management company Azoffmusic Management, including the hiring a number of current Front Line employees, as well as continuing to manage "certain atists."
Specific artists were not identified, but Azoff manages a roster that includes Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Van Halen, Kenny Chesney and Aerosmith. Live Nation completed the purchase of Front Line from Azoff in 2011 for $116 million.
In an interview with Billboard's Ray Waddell about his exit, Azoff said: "I am going to remain a manager, although not to the scale that I was. I'm going to look to do other things in the business. I love the representation business, I'd like to maybe expand that beyond just music. But [Live Nation] were kind enough to work out a way for me to exit my contract early and still work with the people who are my friends, that I love and work with every day. That's people like the Eagles, Van Halen, Steely Dan, and Christina [Aguilera], the people you'd expect to be on that list."
In addition, Azoff's departure included the sale of 1.7 million shares of Live Nation stock to Liberty Media, upping the company's holdings in Live Nation to 26.4%. This is in addition to a structured sale of stock by Azoff that started in August and totaled 697,400 shares.
Earlier this year, Azoff was reported to be in talks with Liberty Media over taking Live Nation private through a buyout.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Azoff is joining the board of the Starz Cable Network. Starz is owned by Liberty Media.
“It’s no secret that I haven’t been a fan of public companies for some time,” Mr. Azoff told the New York Times in a phone interview. “I looked at my calendar for the beginning of next year and I was able to clear 90 days for things that went into dealing with a public company, which I can now devote to productive work.
Live Nation's CEO Michael Rapino signed a new contract on Dec. 27th to continue in his role with the company until December, 2017.
"Irving has been a valuable partner and friend for the past few years," said Mr. Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment in a press release. "We will certainly miss him and we thank him for his many contributions in building Live Nation to the global company it is today, entertaining 50 million fans and selling 200 million tickets in more than 40 countries around the world. I look forward to continuing to work with Irving on his artists' tours for years to come." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers