As is our annual tradition, the Post team presents In Charge, a compendium of Middle Tennessee’s top business, political and civic leaders. The 450-plus women and men on our list — our fifth annual — make a positive impact not just on their individual sectors, but on the city in general. These folks are the best of the best — and always “in charge.”
1. Scott Borchetta — President and CEO, Big Machine Records: Launched Big Machine in 2005, sister label The Valory Music Co. in 2007, and Republic Nashville in 2009 (in partnership with Universal Republic). Label group roster highlighted by Taylor Swift, Reba, Trisha Yearwood and Rascal Flatts.
2. Chris Cobb — Co-Owner, Marathon Music Works: Belmont alum built career as a talent buyer at Great Big Shows and Exit/In before launching promotion company Sell Out Presents. Opened Marathon Music Works with Josh Billue in late 2011 and adjoining bar William Collier’s in 2013.
3. Pat Collins — President and CEO, SESAC: President and COO of performing rights organization SESAC since 2004; recognized as one of the leading performing rights experts in the U.S. Facilitated sale of SESAC for $600 million to private equity firm in January of 2013.
4. Mike Curb — Founder and Chairman, Curb Records: California’s former lieutenant governor and acting governor. Owner of independent record company since 1962, yielding more than 400 No. 1 records. A songwriter and producer once honored as Nashvillian of the Year was awarded the Jack C. Massey Leadership Award in late 2013.
5. Doyle Davis and Mike Grimes —Co-Owners, Grimey’s New & Preloved Music: Co-proprietors of nationally respected indie record store. Oversaw early 2013 Grimey’s expansion into an adjacent location with Grimey’s Too, a bookstore, coffee house and music shop next to the flagship store. Davis hosts WRLT’sIndie Underground Hour radio show and Grimes runs venue The Basement Nashville.
6. Virginia Hunt Davis — Founder, G Major Management: After stints at Warner Nashville and NSAI in 2008, became manager for superstar Jewel. Before turning 30, launched management partnership BAD in 2010, joining forces with Irving Azoff and Scott Borchetta. Started G Major in 2013; roster includes Jewel, Thomas Rhett and The Voice Danielle Bradbery.
7. Mike Dungan — Chairman and CEO, UMG Nashville: Former Capitol Records Nashville President/CEO. Appointed to position at UMG following 2012 merger with EMI. Ranked 50 onBillboard’s 2013 Power 100 list. Has facilitated rise of artists including Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker and Eric Church.
8. John Esposito — President and CEO,Warner Music Nashville: Runs Warner Music Nashville, encompassing Warner Bros. Nashville, Word Entertainment and the re-launched Atlantic Nashville label. Previously held executive posts at Island Def Jam and PolyGram and served as president and CEO of WEA Corp.
9. Rod Essig — Vice President,Creative Artists Agency Nashville: Helped build CAA into one of the most formidable agencies in Music City. Agent for artists including Heart, Reba McEntire, REO Speedwagon and LeAnn Rimes. In 2012, moved CAA into the penthouse space in the downtown SunTrust Building. Addition of Tom Condon to Nashville office in 2013 strengthened local sports division.
10. Leslie Fram — Senior VP of Music Strategy, Country Music Television: Oversees music integration on CMT, CMT.com and CMT Radio and launch of CMT Edge. Former PD and host on NYC’s WRXP and Atlanta’s 99X. Georgia Radio Hall of Fame member and T.J. Martell Foundation Award recipient.
11. Joe Galante — Entrepreneur in Residence, Nashville Entrepreneur Center: Music industry veteran andformer Sony Music Nashville chairman. Investor in Populr.me and ArtistGrowth.com with Mark Montgomery. Advises entrepreneurs within the entertainment and digital media startup fields to keep Nashville competitive on a local and global level.
12. Giancarlo Guerrero, Music Director, Nashville Symphony Orchestra: Led Nashville Symphony to GRAMMY win for recording ofConcerto for Percussion and Orchestra. Principal guest conductor at the Florida-based Cleveland Orchestra Miami. Made debut with multiple orchestras last year, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
13. Jimmy Harnen — Executive Vice President, Big Machine Label Group: President for Republic Nashville and EVP for Big Machine Records, The Valory Music Co. Previously served as senior VP of promotion at Capitol Nashville. Artists on BMLG include Taylor Swift, Reba, Rascal Flatts, Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line and Eli Young Band.
14. Terry Hemmings — President and CEO, Provident Music Group: Oversees company whose roster includes Michael W. Smith, Third Day and Casting Crowns. Also heads Provident-Integrity Distribution and new division Provident Films, where he served as executive producer for Fireproofand Facing the Giants.
15. Jed Hilly — Executive Director, Americana Music Association: Has overseen AMA since 2007. Executive producer of Americana Honors & Awards Show. Grammy/Emmy winner as producer ofLevon Helm: Ramble at the Ryman. Implemented music industry’s first B2B platform, worked on marketing projects for Roy Orbison, Michael Jackson and Creed.
16. Ken Levitan — President and Founder, Vector Management: Co-partner of Vector Management, where he has overseen the careers of acts such as Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Michael McDonald, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Patty Griffin, Trisha Yearwood, Dierks Bentley, Hank Jr., Kid Rock, Bon Jovi and Kings of Leon. Launched upscale food and music festival Music City Eats in September 2013.
17. David Macias, CEO, Thirty Tigers: Former Arista Records exec launched Thirty Tigers in 2001. Offers distribution, management, publicity and label services to artists. Won Grammy for Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster. Has worked with Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell and Those Darlins. Expanded internationally in 2013.
18. Mary Ann McCready — President, Flood Bumstead McCready & McCarthy: Company provides financial and business management for entertainment industry clients such as Pearl Jam, Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton. First female recipient of the CMA’s Founding President’s Award. Former co-chair of Nashville Music Council.
19. Greg Oswald — Co-Head, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment Nashville: Teams with Rob Beckham to oversee an office that represents multiple high-profile country music stars including Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Hank Williams Jr., Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire and The Judds.
20. Gary Overton — Chairman and CEO, Sony Music Nashville: Succeeded Row icon Joe Galante. Spent the previous 10 years with EMI Music Publishing as EVP and general manager. Former manager for Alan Jackson who served as VP of Warner/Chappell and as head of A&R for BNA Entertainment. Ranked 81st onBillboard’s 2013 Power 100 list.
21. Brian Philips — President, Country Music Television: Since 2001, has overseen management, creative direction and growth strategy for the network. Has doubled CMT’s subscriber base and expanded the network’s offerings with CMT.com, CMT Radio, CMT Pure Country, CMT On Demand and CMT Mobile.
22. Taylor Swift — Artist: Released debut album on Big Machine in 2006. Has sold more than 26 million albums. Has won seven Grammys, 12 Billboard Music Awards, 15 American Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards and six Academy of Country Music Awards while being honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Was the youngest person ever to be awarded the Ripple of Hope Award for her philanthropic efforts.
23. Sarah Trahern — CEO, Country Music Association: Left position as SVP/GM of Great American Country (GAC) to take lead role at CMA. Formerly covered politics and public affairs for C-SPAN and worked with TNN: The Nashville Network. Was named one of Billboard’s 30 “Power Players” in 2010.
24. Lester Turner — President, Tuned-In Broadcasting WRLT Lightning 100: Tuned-In Broadcasting head is also proprietor of downtown Acme Feed Store Building, which Tom Morales will reopen as a new restaurant and event space this year. WRLT’s notable employees include GSM Tom Hansen, who also serves as producer of weekly outdoor concert series Live On the Green, and local music supporters/on-air talent Wells Adams and Justin Hammel, who produce the615 weekly radio show.
25. Rick Whetsel, Director of Booking and Production, G7 Entertainment Marketing: Founded concert promotion and production company Great Big Shows in the early 90s. Native Pennsylvanian has produced thousands of concerts and events worldwide, now focusing on sponsor-driven events, working with many Fortune 500 companies. Past and current clients include IBM, Cisco and Toyota.
26. Jack White — Owner, Third Man Records: Artist and owner of Third Man Records, which operates from quirky SoBro space. Known for his work with The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. Released critically acclaimed debut solo album in 2012. Named “Music City Ambassador” by Mayor Karl Deal in 2011.
27. Jody Williams — Vice President and Writer-Publisher Relations, BMI: Responsible for directing all writer/publisher relations activities in BMI’s Nashville office. More than three decades of experience in the music business as an executive in both independent and major music publishing operations.
28. Sally Williams — General Manager, Ryman Auditorium/Vice President of Business and Partnership Development, Opry Entertainment Group: Has served on the Music City Council and the executive committee of Leadership Music. Was named IEBA’s Venue Executive of the Year in 2012 and Promoter of the Year by the ACM in 2010. Promoted to VP of Opry Entertainment in May 2013.
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