10 March 2010
L.A. Reid On The Way Out At Def Jam?
Def Jam CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid canceled a key speech at a top music event with his staff claiming his son was seriously ill -- but he really panicked over facing questions about his future with the label, sources tell Page Six.
Hundreds of top music industry suits paid up to $1,000 each to hear Reid speak at the Billboard 2010 Music & Money Symposium at the St. Regis last week.
But hours before the talk, delegates were told that his son was in the hospital with a head injury and needed surgery. Reid has four sons, from 6 to 29 years old, as well as a daughter, 8.
"There was speculation among other music executives that this was not entirely the truth. Reid didn't want to answer questions about his future with Island Def Jam," a source said. "The move left organizers panicked with no speaker with just hours to go. Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff agreed to stand in."
The Post's Peter Lauria reported last month that R&B impresario Reid is under pressure to break a cold streak following the promotion of Lucian Grainge to CEO of Universal Music Group, which owns Island Def Jam. Following disappointing sales from artists including Rihanna and Mariah Carey, Reid has been ordered to rein in his spending and bring in a hit.
A friend of the dapper Reid -- one of the most powerful men in the US music business -- told us, "L.A. had to cancel because he was called away on family business, not because his son was ill. That was just a story that went around. He isn't afraid to answer questions about his future with the label. He is about to sign J.Lo [Jennifer Lopez] and isn't going anywhere."
A rep for Island Def Jam said, "It was unfortunate, but he was called out of town on personal business and hopes to be able to participate in a future symposium." Billboard declined to comment.