Irving Azoff created Front Line, the world's largest artist management company, sold it to Ticketmaster and then led the move to merge the ticketing powerhouse with concert giant Live Nation. But just two years later, he's quit. - exiting both his positions as the Chairmen of Live Nation and as CEO of Front Line - in an unexpected shift that appears to have been just days in the planning.
Both sides claim the parting was mutual. but Azoff says the decision to leave was made shortly after the last board meeting just three weeks ago on December 10th.
“Life at a public company ain’t for me,” Azoff told The Wrap yesterday. “The board pays you what your worth, then you get reamed for your compensation. They don’t like the way you elect directors, you should be giving options. It’s horses... You can’t be an entrepreneur and work in a public company anymore."
“I bit off more than I could chew., he continued. "I can’t get through the day with 600 emails and 250 phone calls and feel good about it anymore. There’s a zillion meetings that came off my schedule today that were not creating any revenue, that I did because we’re a public company.”
But that doesn't mean that Azoff is ready to retire. He's already confirmed that he's setting up shop with many of his top clients including The Eagles, Christina
Aguilera, Van Halen, Steely Dan and Jennifer Hudson in tow. “I’m never going to work for a public company again,” he told the LA Times. “Any public company.”
"I'd love to be in some sort of uber-management situation," Azoff told the Wall Street Journal. "It's a new time. there's lot of money around that people want to invest."
Azoff also confirmed that he will remain on the board of Clear Channel and sports management company IMG. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Azoff will join the board of Starz, a cable owned by Liberty Media Liberty is expected to spin Starz off in 2013.
In conjunction with Azoff's exit, Liberty purchased 1.7 million shares of Live Nation stock from Azoff, increasing its stake as the company's largest shareholder to to 26.4%. That growing interest by Liberty and it's aggressive CEO John Malone may have contributed Azoff's desire to exit.