Pat Quigley, the man Garth Brooks anointed in 1997 to head Capitol Records’ Nashville division, has been replaced as label president by Mike Dungan, former Senior Vice President and General Manager of Arista Records. Quigley left his post Friday (July 14).
A Capitol press release says Quigley “resigned last week so as to pursue other business opportunities.” This phrase suggests that there was some acrimony in the separation, particularly since it was not accompanied by any healing quotations from Quigley.
A veteran of the record business, Dungan and his former boss, Tim DuBois, were instrumental in making Arista one of Nashville’s most profitable labels during the 1990s, with a roster that included Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio, Pam Tillis and Brad Paisley. DuBois and Dungan both left Arista recently, after it was put under control of the RCA Label Group.
Where Brooks stands on the power shift is not clear, although it is not likely that Dungan would have been installed without his approval. Kelly Brooks, Garth’s brother and co-manager, said he did not expect the singer to issue a statement on the matter. Garth has said that he is giving consideration to retiring from his career as a recording artist at the end of this year.
Brought in primarily for his marketing skills, Quigley presided over the delayed release of Brooks’ Sevens and his Double Live album, then faltered in making his pop album experiment, In the Life of Chris Gaines, a sales success. The results were disappointing not only to Brooks personally, but to Capitol corporately, since it represented a heavy investment of both money and prestige. In addition, multiplatinum-selling Deana Carter all but disappeared on Quigley’s watch. He did, however, help bring Steve Wariner back to the charts and seems to have been at the point of breaking Keith Urban out of the pack when he left.
Quigley also signed Mindy McCready to Capitol after she left the RCA sublabel, BNA Records. A spokesman for Billy Joe Walker Jr., who produced McCready’s still-to-be-released first album for Capitol says, “We are totally done with the project. It’s mixed, mastered and out the door.” The album is scheduled for release this fall.
A source at the label said all activity has been put on hold pending the change of administrations. Under the most benign of circumstances, a change at the top usually presages changes in the flow of music, ranging from albums being cancelled, delayed or dropped to artists being dropped from the label’s roster. There are usually substantial staff firings to make room for the new management team.
Calls to Quigley, Wariner and Carter were not returned by press time. Karen Byrd, Capitol’s publicist, said she had no information on who Dungan might be bringing with him to the new post.
Currently, the Capitol roster includes Brooks, Wariner, Urban, McCready, Carter, Trace Adkins, Chris LeDoux, Rodney Carrington, Tim Wilson, Susan Ashton, Tyler England, Allison Paige and Cyndi Thomson.