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Trailblazing Music Executive Charles Koppelman Dies at Age 82

Trailblazing Music Executive Charles Koppelman Dies at Age 82

Charles Koppelman
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LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) – Charles Koppelman, veteran music executive and one of the top executives at Martha Stewart and Steve Madden’s companies died Friday (November 25). He was 82. An official cause of death has not been released.

His death was announced via social media by his son, Billions co-creator Brian Koppelman and his daughter, Jenny Koppelman Hutt. Brian wrote, “I’ll write more about my dad, Charles Koppelman, when I can. But the only thing that matters is how much I loved him. And how much he taught me about every single thing that matters.”

He continued, “He lived life exactly the way that he wanted to live. And he spent his last days surrounded by those he loved the most. Pop, thank you.”


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Koppelman began his career as a singer/songwriter but quickly saw the potential of publishing music, becoming a publisher under Aldon Music and CEO Don Kirshner.

He joined Clive Davis at CBS Records in 1971 and as National Director of A&R, acquiring catalogs including Neil Sedaka and the Rascals. He was a crucial figure in teaming up such duets as Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love” and Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer’s “No More Tears.”

He moved on from there and co-founded SBK Entertainment with financier Stephen Swid and Sony Music Publishing head Martin Bandier. SBK acquired CBS Songs, which included the classic hits “Over the Rainbow” and “New York, New York.” He oversaw licensing for the ATV Music Group, which led the Beatles catalog and was later acquired by Michael Jackson. During that time, Koppelman has been credited with helping to launch the careers of New Kids on the Block, Tracy Chapman, and the iconic Billy Joel, among others. SBK was sold to EMI in 1988 for $300 million. After the sale, he launched SBK Records with EMI in a joint venture.

SBK Records was successful with hits from Wilson Phillips, Technotronic, and Vanilla Ice, among others. SBK Records merged with EMI, and Koppelman left his post as CEO in 1997. He moved on to take a job as the chairman of Steve Madden, Ltd from 2000 – 2004 and, after that, became the chairman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia until 2011. He returned to music in the same year with his own company, C.A.K. Entertainment. C.A.K. scored branding deals for Adam Levine (K-Mart), Jennifer Lopez (Kohl’s), and Marc Anthony (Kohl’s), among others.

He eventually joined various other entertainment industry boards later in his career.

Koppelman is survived by his wife, Gerri Kyhill Koppelman, his son Brian and his daughter Jeny Koppelman Hutt. No memorial plans have been released.

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