Live Nation Entertainment Chairman Irving Azoff has resigned from the company, effective immediately.
65-year old Azoff was contracted to the company until mid-2014 but chose the last day of 2012 to make his departure public.
As Chairman of Live Nation, Azoff merged Live Nation and Ticketmaster to make the biggest music company in the world. “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.”
However, in an interview later in the day with The Wrap Azoff was a lot more blunt about reasons for his departure. “Life at a public company ain’t for me,” he said. “The board pays you what your worth, then you get reamed for your compensation. They don’t like the way you elect directors, you should be giving options. It’s horseshit. You can’t be an entrepreneur and work in a public company anymore.”
As part of the original merger, Azoff’s management company Frontline Management also became part of Live Nation. Frontline Management represented the careers of the Eagles, Steely Dan, Aerosmith, Jimmy Buffett, Christina Aguilera and more.
Live Nation has not announced plans for the future of Frontline without Azoff but in his statement Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation said, “I look forward to continuing to work with Irving on his artists’ tours for years to come,” suggesting that Live Nation will let Azoff take Frontline with him.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Azoff was paid $12 million in cash for his departure and is selling his 2 million shares and 664,000 options back to the company. Live Nation shares closed at $9.31 today. The 52-week range for the company is $8.01 – $11.00.
Azoff is expected to announce that he will be joining the board of cable-television company Starz.
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