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Post-takeover changes begin at MAMA, Driscoll departs

By | Published on Monday 1 March 2010

The MAMA Group announced on Friday the resignation of their co-CEO Adam Driscoll, who will depart the live music and artist management business following its acquisition by HMV.

Driscoll, of course, was key in the development of the Channelfly empire that preceded MAMA, helping take a Camden club and its promotional fanzine and transform it into one of the UK’s most important independent music companies; cleverly moving the firm away from its original ambitions just before all things crashed, and instead expanding the Barfly network of clubs, buying into artist services, and setting up youth marketing and brand partnership spin offs.

When Channelfly merged with MAMA in late 2005 Driscoll became CEO of the combined company, soon being joined by former Mean Fiddler boss Dean James, with the two men becoming co-CEOs of the group. They have since together overseen a prolific acquisition spree, in particular buying up much of the venue network owned by James’ previous employer, and expanding their company’s interests in festivals and artist management, and striking up strategic alliances with Nettwerk, ATC Management and HMV. The latter, of course, led to the music retailer’s acquisition of MAMA last month.

James will stay with MAMA now that it is a division of HMV and, confirming Driscoll’s departure on Friday, told CMU: “Adam has been a driving force behind the development of MAMA over the past five years and it has been a privilege to work with him. I look forward to the next five years with HMV being as rewarding as the last five years as we continue to develop MAMA into one of the UK’s leading music businesses”.

It’s not yet clear how MAMA will operate under the HMV banner, ie whether it remain a stand alone entity within the HMV Group, or whether MAMA’s constituent parts – live, management and marketing services – will be split up into separate HMV divisions. That said, changes confirmed this weekend at MAMA’s principle artist management agency, Supervision, possibly suggest the latter.

According to a statement, Supervision is set to begin a “new era as a streamlined business with its profitable core group of managers”, whatever that means. It will be headed up by two of its long-standing artist managers, Cerne Canning and James Sandom, while Nigel Templeman and Dave Cronen will remain part of the company, joined by former Interscope/Geffen marketing man Deb Fenstermacher. Canning and Sandom will report to both the aforementioned James and HMV top dog Simon Fox.