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Hitting the High Note

John Esposito

John Esposito’s career reached a new high last October when he was named to the newly created position of president of WEA, Inc., the U.S. manufacturing, distribution, and packaging operation of Warner Music Group. Esposito is responsible for overseeing the company’s sales, marketing, and branch distribution activities.

As an IUP Journalism student, Esposito was known around campus for his passion for music. He was chairman of the Concerts and Coffeehouse Committee for the Student Activities Board, a disk jockey at WIUP for three years, and music critic for the Penn for two years. He also played drums and guitar and sang in several bands during that time such as Cimarron, Crystal, and the Joe Bagadonuts Band.

“David Truby, my faculty advisor and main teacher in journalism, was wonderfully inspiring,” said Esposito. “He said it didn’t matter if I ended up a journalist or not, just that I was successful in what I chose to be in. I know he helped me get better at framing my thoughts, both written and spoken.”

After graduating in 1978, Esposito worked his way through several influential positions including regional vice-president of Mitsubishi Electronics America, CEO of music and movies for The Wiz retail chain, and senior vice president of PolyGram. He was one of the original architects of Island Def Jam Music Group where, as general manager/executive vice president, he managed the company’s day-to-day activities, increasing its revenue and market share to become one of the industry’s leading record companies.

Esposito lives in Lambertsville, N.J., with his wife, Holly Bauer Esposito ’78, and their children, Jessica and Johnny. Their home also contains fifteen thousand CDs, two thousand LPs, twenty-eight guitars, and several drum sets and keyboards. Holly, an IUP fine arts graduate, has run her own custom jewelry business since 1987. Her works are for sale in shops around the Princeton and New Hope areas.

“Being able to work in the music business every day is more special than I could explain,” said Esposito. “I get to work with so many great artists. My passion for their work makes it so very easy to do everything possible to get their music in front of everyone that I can.”