Irving Azoff, chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, has quit the company in a surprise announcement.
Azoff has also resigned as CEO of Live Nation’s Front Line Management Group, its Board of Directors and as an employee of the company, effective immediately.
In conjunction with this change, Liberty Media Corporation has purchased 1.7 million shares of Live Nation stock from Azoff, increasing its stake to 26.4%.
Front Line Management handles over 250 artist clients. Azoff is expected to retain some clients as part of his own independent management business.
Artists working with Front Line include The Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac and Kenny Chesney.
“After successfully overseeing the integration of Live Nation and Ticketmaster over the past two years, my job here is done. We put together the leading company across concert promotion, ticketing, sponsorship and artist management and delivered the great results promised by the merger,” said Mr. Azoff.
“I especially enjoyed my time with my partner Michael Rapino, and he has demonstrated the ability to lead this company from now on. I’m looking forward to returning to the entrepreneurial world and continuing to work with all my friends and colleagues at Live Nation.”
“Irving has been a valuable partner and friend for the past few years,” said Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment. “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.”
“I want to thank Irving for his leadership since the merger. While he has played a key role in setting Live Nation on a path for success, we understand his entrepreneurial desires,” said Greg Maffei, lead external director for Live Nation Entertainment’s Board of Directors, and President and CEO of Liberty Media. “Live Nation is now well positioned and we have tremendous confidence in Michael Rapino and his leadership team.”Music Business Worldwide