NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The newly reorganized Warner Bros. Records has tapped Bill Bennett, the former head of Madonna’s Maverick Records label, to head its Nashville office, the company confirmed Wednesday.
Bennett brings 25 years of experience in the rock and pop record industry to Warner Bros. Nashville, which represents country music artists such as Big & Rich, Faith Hill and Blake Shelton.
Until September, the Nashville office had been without a leader since its long-time president, Jim Ed Norman, departed several months ago. That followed Time Warner’s sale of the Warner Music Group in March for $2.6 million to a private investment group led by Seagram scion Edgar Bronfman Jr.
Born in Clarksville, Bennett said even though he has not been in the country music industry, he loves the music and has roots in the Nashville area, reported the Nashville City Paper.
“I grew up here. I used to hang out here. I’ve been living in New York and Los Angeles over the last 25, 30 years, and all that time I’d come back to see my family. My two closest friends live here, run record companies,” he said.
Bennett held promotions positions at CBS Records’ Epic and Columbia labels and was a senior executive at MCA. He became president of Geffen Records/DGC in 1996 and left in 1999 in the aftermath of a merger at Universal Music Group when Bronfman owned it.
The year he left Geffen, Bennett was picked by Madonna and her partner to head Maverick Records.
Maverick and Warner Bros. have been involved in a lawsuit stemming from their joint venture. Bennett, who left Maverick about three years ago, said he was not involved in the lawsuit and left on good terms.