Robert Cavallo


Buena Vista Music Group

When Walt Disney Co. decided to shore up its struggling music operations, it tapped Robert Cavallo, an industry veteran who has managed acts as diverse as Earth, Wind and Fire and Green Day.

Cavallo took the reins of the Buena Vista Music Group last January and so far, the company has had some positive results. Fastball's second album, released in February on the Hollywood Records label, is about to go platinum, and another Buena Vista artist, Jennifer Paige, has a top-five single a first for Buena Vista.

Cavallo's appointment marks the first time Disney has consolidated its various music operations into one entity. He oversees all of Disney's recorded music and music publishing, including Hollywood Records (a rock label), Walt Disney Records (children's music and animated film soundtracks), Lyric Street Records (country), Mammoth Records (rock), and Walt Disney Music Publishing.

Cavallo, 57, went into the music business after graduating from Georgetown University, where he helped bring performers to campus. He entered the personal management field after stints as a nightclub owner and event promoter.

He was an established name in the business by the age of 25, having assembled and guided the group The Lovin' Spoonful. He went on to identify and develop numerous new artists, including Little Feat, Weather Report, The Emotions, Prince, The Goo Goo Dolls and Alanis Morissette. Under his management, those and other artists have earned more than 100 gold and platinum records and generated billions of dollars in revenue.

While managing Prince, Cavallo produced two of the singer's movie vehicles, "Purple Rain" and "Under the Cherry Moon."

In 1990, he and Charles Roven formed Roven-Cavallo Entertainment, which evolved into Atlas Entertainment in 1994 with the collaboration of the late Dawn Steel. Atlas was involved not only in music management but generated several films, including "12 "Monkeys," "Angus," "Fallen" and "City of Angels."

The jury is still out on whether Cavallo can reverse Disney's years of failure in the music business, including losses of $100 million, management turmoil and no hit records.

But the prognosis seems good. "He comes with a good reputation and I'm sure he will turn it around," said Harold Vogel, a Disney analyst with Cowen & Co. in New York.

Elizabeth Hayes

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