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IMG Artists moves fast to replace defecting MD

IMG Artists, the ever-troubled classical agency, announced David Lai, a Sony veteran as managing director, North America. He replaces Elizabeth Sobol, an IMG lifer, who rocked the firm by joining Decca US today as president and chief exec, as part of Universal CEO Max Hole’s bid to strengthen his classical output.

IMG_8669 The move is good for Decca, bad for IMG – where key executives have been flying off like shards from a broken glass. Read the press releases below and you may think Lai is like for like. Not many insiders would agree.

Enjoy the corporate spin. Universal first:



January 17, 2013, London – Max Hole, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UMG International, announced today that Elizabeth Sobol is joining the Decca Label Group, USA, as President and CEO. Based in New York, Sobol will join the company on April 15th and will be responsible for the Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Mercury Classics labels in the US.


Currently Managing Director of IMG Artists North and South America, Sobol brings to the Decca Label Group a wealth of experience from running IMG Artists, where she was a key player since the company’s founding in overseeing its growth into the world’s largest international performing arts management agency representing over 500 of the world’s premier classical, jazz, world music and dance artists.


As well as acting as personal manager to artists including Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, James Galway, Evgeny Kissin and the Emerson String Quartet, Sobol has produced numerous recordings and theatre projects, co-created and programmed the Festival of the Arts BOCA and lead the diversification of IMG Artists from a classical music agency into a multi-genre agency. Sobol created IMG Artists’ Dance, Latin Music and World Music/Jazz/Attractions divisions, as well as sourcing and signing 40 new non-classical artists.


Sobol will report to Max Hole who commented: “I’m delighted to welcome Elizabeth to the Decca Label Group where her passion for music, innovation and creativity make her the ideal choice to develop the Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Mercury Classics’ labels in the U.S.” 

Now IMG:

January 17, 2013
IMG Artists Appoints Industry Veteran David Lai
Managing Director - North America
NEW YORK – JANUARY 17, 2013 - IMG Artists is pleased to announce that David Lai has been named as Managing Director – North America.  Mr. Lai is a Grammy® Award winning producer and A&R consultant to Sony Masterworks where he has collaborated with such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Audra McDonald, Plácido Domingo, Yo-Yo Ma, Josh Groban, Lang Lang, and Herbie Hancock among many others.  He previously served as Senior Vice President of A&R and Operations for Sony Masterworks.  Mr. Lai is currently the President of Park Avenue Artists, where he will continue to develop the careers of young artists across entertainment fields including music, theater, television and film with the strategic alliance of IMGA.  Along with Mr. Lai’s other accomplishments, he has served in many capacities on Broadway including as Music Director and Conductor for The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.He will report directly to IMG Artists’ President and CEO Jerry Inzerillo.Mr. Inzerillo said, “We are truly excited about welcoming David to our team. He is an industry leader known for his creativity.  His talents as a manager, record industry executive and as an artist will be an important contribution to our future”.

Mr. Lai said, “I am very excited about the opportunity to join Jerry Inzerillo and the entire IMGA team.  IMGA is a company I have long enjoyed working with and to now be part of this brilliant group of creatively talented people is a great honor.  I look forward to working with the wonderful artists on the roster and to helping IMGA further its mission”.
Elizabeth Sobol, who has served as Managing Director of IMG Artists since 2007, is resigning her position to become the President and CEO of the Decca Label Group USA.Mr. Inzerillo stated, “We are truly pleased for Elizabeth Sobol in this new exciting career development.    She has been a valued and key leader at IMG Artists, and we look forward to working with her in her new role on the development of exciting new projects.”Ms. Sobol joined IMG Artists 30 years ago and has played an integral part in the success of the Company as a global leader in the performing arts management business.

Ms. Sobol said, “I have treasured my years working at IMG Artists and look forward to my new role at Universal and to continuing to collaborate with my colleagues in the years to come”.

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  1. Graf Nugent says:

    Good luck, David. I’ve always heard great things about you.

  2. Bravo Elizabeth! I could be wrong, but I believe the last time an artist-manager became president of a major recording label was back in 1986, when RCA hired Michael Emmerson (who was James Galway’s manager — as Elizabeth later became). So, how interesting that history repeats itself. Best of luck, Elizabeth!

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