Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kevin Liles

Kevin Liles ascent from unpaid intern to president, author, philanthropist, motivational speaker and consultant to many entertainment and political boards began in 1991 when he became an unpaid intern for Def Jam in the Mid-Atlantic region. By 1993, he had become the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Manager and by 1998, after only seven years, Liles accepted the position of President of the Def Jam Music Group. During his tenure as President, Def Jam revenues doubled to $400 million. In addition to presiding over the label’s artist roster and day-to-day business at Def Jam, Liles oversaw the diversification of the Def Jam brand, including establishing Def Jam South, Def Soul, Def Soul Classics, Roc-A-Fella and Murder Inc. He also led the brand-extension efforts and cross marketing deals that linked Def Jam's name to movies, television, DVDs, clothing, financial services, mobile content and video games. As President and CEO, Liles spearheaded Def Jam Interactive – to partner with Electronic Arts – which led to the creation of three Def Jam-branded video games and over ten different sku's. Titles such as Vendetta, Fight for New York and Icon, have sold more than 8 million units worldwide, to date. Liles recently orchestrated a new partnership with 4mm games, launched by former Rockstar game founders Jamie King and Gary Foreman. The first release, the highly anticipated Def Jam Rapstar is scheduled for early 2010.

Following the merger that created the Island/Def Jam Music Group in 2002, Kevin Liles added the title of executive vice president of Island Def Jam Music Group to his resume. Thanks to his uncanny ability to provide leadership while allowing artists the freedom to create, he has been instrumental in the success of and eventual cross-over of many artists who have made the leap from “performer” to “global brand” – Jay Z, Hoobastank, Ludacris, Sum 41, Ja Rule, LL Cool J, DMX, Kanye West, Musiq Soulchild and Ashanti.

By 2004, Liles joined Warner Music Group as Executive Vice President and by 2005; he was part of the executive team that took the company public. As the chief executive behind the implementation of WMG’s new 360-degree strategy for enhanced artist partnerships, Liles oversaw the expansion of the traditional record company role in the artist’s career. His expertise in all facets of artist relations and brand expansion allowed for successful, complete partnerships with artists in each facet of their careers - fan clubs and ticketing, endorsements and licensing, artist management, TV production and merchandising.

Throughout 2008, Liles was instrumental in assembling a coalition of like-minded entertainers who made strategic visits to swing states in the final weeks before the historic Presidential election. Liles, along with Jay-Z, Beyonce, P. Diddy, Russell Simmons & Mary J. Blige encouraged Americans to exercise their right to vote. Currently, Liles is a committee chairman on the upcoming Jay-Z & Friends “Answer The Call” Charity Concert, taking place at Madison Square Garden on September 11, 2009 and benefitting the NYC Police and Fire Widow and Children’s Benefit Fund.

Liles serves as board member/ advisor to Ogilvy & Mather diversity board, New Yorkers For Children, Junior Achievement of New York, The Executive Leadership Council, The SEED School of Maryland, Harbor Bank, and HealthCorps. He is the bestselling author of Make It Happen: the Hip Hop Generation’s Guide to Success and oversees both Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore, which invests in the Baltimore community, and the Make It Happen Foundation, which empowers African-American youth to succeed in the business world.


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