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John Esposito ’78

John Esposito '78

John Esposito is honored as a 2011 Distinguished Alumnus for his outstanding achievements in the world of music. He currently serves as president and CEO of Warner Music Nashville, a division of Warner Music Group Corp.

An accomplished guitar player, vocalist, and drummer, Mr. Esposito has made music a common theme in his life. While a student at IUP, he was a DJ at WIUP, booked concerts and coffeehouse shows, and performed with two different bands. He graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Journalism and soon left for Washington, D.C., where he managed several record stores.

From 1986 to 1993, Mr. Esposito worked for Mitsubishi Electronics America as regional vice president, managing the sales and operations staff. In 1993, he joined the New York-based retail chain The Wiz, serving as chief operating officer of music and movies, and in 1995 became senior vice president of Polygram’s PolyMedia Division.

When Polygram was purchased by Seagram/Universal, Mr. Esposito was asked to join the newly merged company’s Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJ) where, as general manager/executive vice president, he managed the label’s day-to-day operational activities. Mr. Esposito was one of the original architects of IDJ and helped lead its development into one of the industry’s leading record companies.

Since 2002, Mr. Esposito has served in senior leadership positions with the Warner family of companies. Initially, he served as president and CEO of WEA Corp., Warner Music Group’s U.S. sales and retail marketing company, and was also responsible for the Digital Sales and Marketing group, which manages the mobile and online business for WMG’s U.S. labels. In that role, Mr. Esposito also oversaw WMG’s Alternative Distribution Alliance, the music industry’s leading distributor of independent record labels, and Independent Label Group, WMG’s family of independent labels.

As president of Warner Music Nashville, a division of Warner Music Group, he has responsibility for Warner Bros. Nashville, Atlantic Nashville, Elektra Nashville, and Word Label Group. In September 2009, he became the first executive to head the new division, which was created to expand WMG’s presence in the Nashville music community.

Mr. Esposito’s work goes beyond the music business. He spearheads WMG’s environmental campaign, WMGreen, for which he was awarded the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Forces for Nature Person of the Year honor in 2006 for his leadership on environmental issues. He is a founding and steering committee member of NRDC’s Global Leadership Council, a committee of more than forty members dedicated to making their respective companies and industries more environmentally friendly. He also serves on the board of the TJ Martell Foundation, one of the world’s leading funders of innovative, early-stage cancer, leukemia, and AIDS research, and is a board member of LiveConnections, a nonprofit agency dedicated to music, education, and support for artists. He also serves on the boards of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

Mr. Esposito and his wife, Chantel, reside in Nashville. His children, from his first marriage, are Jessica (New York) and Johnny (Nashville).

Profile published 6/10/11

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