Conde Nast Entertainment Group names new EVP

VEVO GM Fred Santarpia has been named EVP and Chief Digital Officer at Conde Nast Entertainment Group, where he will be responsible for developing and managing the company’s digital channel business and video distribution strategy across web-connected platforms and devices. Before VEVO, Santarpia held a post at Universal Music Group. The company previously hired former CW chief Dawn Ostroff as President in October to develop, create, produce and distribute TV, film and digital content based on Conde Nast’s portfolio of brands that includes Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, Glamour and Architectural Digest. (HITS)

How I Made It: Rob Wells

The Universal Music Group president charts the digital course for the world’s largest record company.

The gig: Rob Wells is president of global digital business at Universal Music Group. With a global staff of 75 and an office that sits next to the company’s chief executive in Santa Monica, Wells must chart the digital course for the world’s largest record company.

The opening act: Wells landed his first record company job in 1994 at BMG Entertainment in his native Britain, where his job included sorting through the company’s fan mail and building a database of customer names and addresses for promotional mailings. His annual salary was 9,880 pounds, or roughly $15,400.

“My boss always reminded me that I got the job because I was tall and strong so I could reach high places and lift the post bag,” Wells said, chuckling.

The headliner: Wells turned a low-level marketing gig into career gold when he was sitting in a meeting about how to let fans know about a new album from Take That, a British pop group.

Because the mailing list Wells had been working on grew so large, sending an announcement through the mail would cost more than half of the album’s total marketing budget. As BMG’s executives debated what should be done, Wells piped up, “Why don’t we just send emails? They’re free.”

One executive replied: “That’s a brilliant idea! What’s email?”

From then on, the company changed its marketing plans to embrace the Internet. In 1996, Wells was named BMG’s head of digital. Read more here…