CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Kevin Lawrie will assume the role of president, Latin Region, Sony BMG Music Entertainmenr effective January 1. Lawrie, who is based in Miami, is currently president, Sony BMG Norte.
"Kevin's track record of success speaks for itself," commented Michael Smellie, COO, Sony BMG. "His leadership abilities and business savvy have earned him the respect of his peers throughout the industry, and his proven dedication to artist development has contributed to the company's ongoing success. He's the right choice to lead our efforts across the Latin region."
Lawrie will oversee the company's operations across Latin America, adding this new role to his existing responsibilities of supervising Latin music recordings in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Central America.
"From a stellar roster of artists to some of the most talented executives in the industry, Sony BMG's Latin Region team is, simply put, the best in the business," said Lawrie. "It's an honor to lead our operations in the region."
Lawrie succeeds Frank J. Welzer, who will retire at the end of this year after a 37 year career at CBS, Sony Music and Sony BMG, the last 12 as head of the highly successful and well respected Latin region. Welzer is highly regarded for his ability to create an environment in which artists and executives are able to develop and flourish. During his tenure, the company's Latin division has been home to Marc Anthony, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Roberto Carlos, Gloria Estefan, Chayanne, Ricardo Arjona, Vicente Fernandez, Alejandro Fernandez and Zeze Di Camargo & Luciano, to name just a few. Welzer will continue in his capacity as chairman of the company's operations in Brazil and will act as a key advisor to Lawrie.
"For nearly four decades I've had the distinct honor of being part of one of the most impressive organizations in entertainment as it developed some of the greatest artists in the history of recorded music," said Welzer. "I am particularly proud of the team I've helped to build in the Latin region, and I'm delighted that one of the most talented members of that team will be leading the organization going forward. Kevin has drive, vision and tremendous leadership skills, and I know that he'll be highly effective in his new role."
"Frank built one of the most successful music operations ever, independent of language or territory, based on the tenacious search for stand-out artistic and executive talent," said Lawrie. "We will not vary from the many successful operating principles that he has instilled in this team. I am thrilled and grateful that he has agreed to stay on and advise us as we press forward into the very exciting, yet challenging future that awaits us."
Lawrie served as presiden, Norte, since 2003. During his tenure, he played a central role in transforming U.S. Latin into a vibrant operatio, and helped to build a thriving roster of established and emerging artists across the U.S. Latin, Mexico and Central America regions. Previously he served as president, Sony Music Mexico for four years. He joined Sony Music Mexico in 1994 as director, Finance and Administration. In September 1998 he was promoted to vice president and deputy managing director. He first joined Sony Music in 1993 as Sony Music International's senior director of Finance for Latin America. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner