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Warner Music Chief Moves Closer to Quitting

March 04, 2004|Jeff Leeds | Times Staff Writer

Music industry veteran Roger Ames, who ran Time Warner Inc.'s worldwide record division for four years before the media giant sold it to private investors, took a step toward the exit Wednesday.

Ames said he would be an "at-will non-exclusive consultant" to the record company.

It remains possible that Ames could reverse course and take a top post in the executive structure being created by former Seagram Co. Chief Executive Edgar Bronfman Jr., who led the investor team that bought Warner Music Group for $2.6 billion. But insiders say such a move appears in doubt.

Bronfman has hired Lyor Cohen, formerly chairman of rival Universal Music Group's Island Def Jam label, to take charge of Warner's record-label operations in the United States, the world's biggest music market, leaving Ames with a diminished role.

A departure would mark the second time Ames, a Trinidad native who started his music career three decades ago as a talent scout for British giant EMI Group, has found himself without a job after a Bronfman deal. Ames left his role as head of the former PolyGram Music Group's international operation after Seagram purchased it in 1998. Time Warner hired him the following year.

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