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John Scher Out At Metropolitan Entertainment Group

The big news hinted at CelebrityAccess members earlier this week is the change of power at Metropolitan Entertainment Group, where President/CEO John Scher has been replaced by Scott Mackin, president/CEO of Covanta Energy Corp., formerly Ogden Corporation, which controls the majority of MEG stock.

Scher will remain with the company as a member of the Board Of Directors and will head Metropolitan's record label, Hybrid Recordings. He will also work directly with Mackin.

"I have put my heart, soul and indeed my entire professional business life into Metropolitan," said Scher. "I believe we have developed a solid multi-faceted entertainment company that has a very bright future. Scott Mackin and the Covanta team want to work with the Metropolitan staff to ensure that we meet our fullest potential."

"All of us at Covanta and MEG value what John has meant, and will continue to mean, for MEG," noted Mackin. "A true visionary, John is a legend in the entertainment industry. Moreover, we are excited about the tremendous potential that Metropolitan has for growth and continued success."

Metropolitan Entertainment's Live Entertainment division will continue to be run by Debra Rathwell and Keith Beccia. The Touring Division will be run by Amy Polan Clarke as well as Carl Freed (profiled on CelebrityAccess), who is also involved in the Live Entertainment division's business development. Artist Management will continue to be run by Doug Thaler, and the Theatrical and Television division will continue to be run by Jeff Rowland. Eric Levine, senior vice president of operations and general counsel, and Joseph Polack, CFO, will remain in their positions. Hybrid Recordings will continue to be run by Michael Leon, who will continue to report to Scher.

MEG, which operates a number of its own facilities, including the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, the Coors Light Amphitheatre at Montage Mountain, Baltimore's Pier Six Concert Pavilion, and the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, has several new amphitheater projects in the planning stage.

Since late June there has been a power struggle within MEG. A lawsuit was filed in New Jersey on June 29 and Scher was served on July 3, which has led to the developments of this week.

Covanta has been trying to unload its non-energy divisions for more than a year and apparently had a bid from Clear Channel (then SFX) that Scher rejected. Numerous sources have indicated that if the sale had gone through, Clear Channel did not want Scher as part of the package (Scher and Clear Channel's Ron Delsener have been longtime rivals, which might have been part of that reasoning). Covanta was able to secure some minority share votes to push itself over its already 50 percent share of the company, and in essence remove Scher from power. (In the early 1990s, Scher went to work at PolyGram and convinced the entity to buy half of MEG. When Scher left PolyGram and returned full-time to MEG, PolyGram decided it no longer wanted to be in the touring business. Scher found Ogden, a player in the facility business, to purchase PolyGram's share).

Sources indicate Covanta is not sure whether it wants to sell MEG at the present time, but in all likelihood, Clear Channel will probably renew its offer in the coming weeks.