Jim Caradine, Warner Music International Veteran, Dies
Jim Caradine, a longtime Warner Music executive who played a big hand in the expansion of the music major’s international activities, passed away on Dec. 26, Billboard can confirm.
Caradine served as executive VP, Warner Music International from 1986 until his retirement in December 1999, after which time he relocated from East Hampton, NY to Jupiter, Florida.
In 1974, Caradine called time on his stint working with Arthur Andersen’s international tax department, based in Paris, to join Warner Communications. It proved to be the right move and the beginning of a fruitful 25-year-career with the company.
Caradine brought to his new job a clear head for multi-jurisdictional agreements and acquisitions, and the following year he was asked to assist with structuring an agreement between Brazilian soccer great Pele and the New York Cosmos.
It was around that time he caught the attention of Nesuhi Ertegun who oversaw the international distribution of the Warner Communications record division. Soon after, Caradine came on board to help Nesuhi in launching the record company's international affiliate structure, WEA International Inc, later to be rebranded as Warner Music International (WMI).
During the 1980s, Caradine, then senior VP of operations, added duties as head of WEA International’s video division, bringing the manufacture and distribution of product in-house, and he had oversight of signings of artists and labels including Phil Collins, Luis Miguel and Tommy Boy Records.
As the company expanded, “so too did Jim’s role and his seniority at the company reflected his invaluable contribution to WMI’s growth and the esteem in which he was held,” reads a company memo, celebrating the late exec.
Caradine was “an example to all who worked with him – a southern gentleman, a person of character and integrity, characteristics seemingly anomalous in the music business, yet who rose to the very top with skill and charm, maintaining his good humour and a constant gleam of amusement and fun in his eye,” the message continues. “Unlike many, he knew exactly the time to retire, planning, with his usual meticulous detail his travel schedule with the many work friends he had from all corners of the world.
A statement from Caradine’s family adds, “Jim’s personal style combined warmth, wit and kindness with the cool elegance of a Cole Porter lyric.”