Music & Sound Retailer August 2019, Vol 36 No 8

Page 16


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Larry Morton Named Hal Leonard CEO

Hal Leonard announced that Keith Mardak stepped down as its CEO, and Larry Morton became president and CEO, effective Aug. 1. Mardak will remain with Hal Leonard as chairman of the board and act in a consultant role for the foreseeable future. Mardak first started working with Hal Leonard in 1970 with the Learning Unlimited joint venture, which then revitalized Hal Leonard’s hold on the lucrative organ bench pack business. Hal Leonard annual sales at that time were $960,000. In just two years, the sales of Learning Unlimited products outsold the rest of the offerings from Hal Leonard. Negotiations with the Hal Leonard ownership ensued, and Mardak and the rest of the Learning Unlimited owners became minority shareholders in the Hal Leonard Publishing/Pointer System companies. In 1985, Mardak purchased the company — at a time when its annual sales were at $16 million — and he has been its CEO ever since. Under Mardak’s leadership, the company has become a leader in educational methods and repertoire. In addition to its own publishing of iconic methods such as the Hal Leonard Guitar Method and

Keith Mardak (left) with Larry Morton

Essential Elements Band and Strings Methods; publishing agreements with the biggest names in music, including the Beatles, Disney, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and hundreds more; acquisitions of many print and digital companies including G. Schirmer, Rubank, Willis Piano, Shawnee Press, Music Sales, Noteflight, and Groove3; and distribution deals with many other publishers and musical gear producers, Hal Leonard sales have grown to more than $250 million. In addition, the company has expanded around the world with offices in Australia, England, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and more. The company now has nearly 800 employees. Morton joined Hal Leonard in 1990 and quickly worked his way up to national sales manager, then vice president of Sales. Mardak appointed Morton as president of Hal Leonard in 1999. In 2016, after years of research and discussions, Hal Leonard announced that private investment firm Seidler Equity Partners had acquired a majority interest in the company. As part of that agreement, Mardak stayed on for three years to help with the transition. “I am proud of the work I’ve done with Hal Leonard and happy that I’ve been able to spend the majority of my days working in the music industry,” said Mardak. “Over the years, I’ve had the honor of working with amazing people with the common goal of sharing the joy of making music. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Ketch a Great Catch

Rob Ketch was named senior vice president of sales at Fishman. He previously served as vice president of OEM Sales since 2007, and he was initially hired by Fishman in 1994 as an inside salesperson. In addition to OEM Sales, Ketch has remained deeply involved in the design of product solutions with Fishman’s engineering and product-development team. He also remains active as a musician, playing guitar in various New England-area bands over the last 35 years. “It’s my great pleasure to promote Rob to the well-deserved position of senior vice president of sales,” said Larry Fishman, founder and president of Fishman. “Rob has consistently demonstrated his leadership skills and an unwavering track record of success with building relationships and sales for Fishman. Our company’s continued growth is in no small part due to Rob’s steadfast determination and hard work. Because of that dedication, the Fishman brand adds value and performance to hundreds of thousands of new instruments every year.”