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COVER STORY : If You Wanna Be a Honcho . . .

April 18, 1993|CHUCK PHILIPS

The blunt truth is most of the women now employed in the record business will never get to head a record label.

Why?

They don't have sufficient experience or skills, according to the six men who rule the record industry.

This is especially true of women who--because of years of sexist hiring practices--have been pigeonholed in "ladies" departments such as publicity and personnel.

"One thing's for sure," says Jim Fifield, president and chief executive officer of EMI Music. "A person can't just slide in from the PR or the personnel departments. To be president of a record company, you have to be able to make the hard decisions and make a direct impact on the bottom line."

While opinions vary on what contributions most effect the bottom line, all six--including PolyGram's Alain Levy, Sony's Michael P. Schulhof and Warner's Robert Morgado--agreed that future job applicants ought to develop a clear comprehension of artists and repertoire, promotion, marketing, sales and contracts.

"You must also have a grasp of cool rational business behavior," says Michael Dornemann, chairman and chief executive officer of Bertelsmann Music Group.

In addition, each of the six music chiefs tried to describe an unknown element that comes to play every time they screen prospective job applicants.

"It's difficult to explain, but one of the characteristics that is clear among all key players is that their vision goes far beyond what their specific functional responsibilities are at any point in their career," says Al Teller, chairman of the MCA Music Entertainment Group.

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