Laszlo Hegedus will observe the year-long non-compete clause in his Live Nation contract and then return to the Balkan live music market at the beginning of 2009.
"I have a gagging order in my contract and there’s not much that I can say about things but, as much as I respect Live Nation and appreciate what I have learned since being with the company, I’m an independent type of person," he told Pollstar days after he and marketing exec Eva Czergu parted company with the U.S.-based music giant.
"Of course I can still see the corporate logic, but it’s not always the only logic," he explained. "I was a good soldier and did as I was told. There are no bad feelings and I will spend the year working with Multimedia S&L, which is my own production company that supplies sound and lights to Live Nation and other promoters."
As for coming back in 2009 and competing with the company that used to employ him, he said he won’t be the first person to do that and pointed out that he’ll also be competing with others from "Germany, Austria, Turkey and wherever" in what he predicts will become an even more crowded Balkan market.
Hegedus, who started Multimedia in Budapest in 1978, began to take a less active personal role in the Balkan live music market in the early ’90s.
Tim Dowdall, who had joined the company in ’82, stepped up to promote the international acts. Meanwhile, Hegedus, who’d sold half of his Multimedia Records to Polygram in ’93 and the rest in ’98, was able to concentrate on his job as managing director of what had become Universal Music.
In 2003, about a year before Pollstar reported that then-Clear Channel chairman Brian Becker and international head of music Michael Rapino had spent part of the ILMC weekend negotiating to buy some promoters from the old Eastern Bloc, Universal’s European shakeup led to Hegedus stepping aside and becoming "non-executive president."
"I believe the company wants to cut the average age of the staff, and with it my salary," he said at the time, although the remark was more humorous than rueful.
That left more time for the live music business, although most of the major agents had now come to look at Dowdall as the company figurehead as far as touring international acts was concerned.
About six months later, Rapino brought Multimedia, the Czech Republic’s Interkoncerts and Poland’s Odyssey into the Clear Channel fold.
The new setup saw Dowdall sourcing the international talent while Hegedus took care of promoting their Hungarian shows. Serge Grimaux and Robert Porkert of Interkoncerts handled the Czech shows and Steve Todd’s Interkoncerts looked after Poland.
"Hungary is a market that has faced a number of challenges since joining the European Union, but I see it as a market with great opportunity in the future," said Live Nation International chief exec Alan Ridgeway in a statement announcing the company’s Budapest shuffle.
It sees Dowdall, president of Live Nation Central and Eastern Europe, take on the role of president of Live Nation Hungary, with former chief financial officer Laszlo Borsos becoming managing director.
Czergu has been replaced by Eva Markus, who has worked as promotional and marketing manager at Universal since 1993.
Upcoming shows for Live Nation Hungary include Cirque du Soleil, Morcheeba, Kylie Minogue, Mark Knopfler, Avril Lavigne and Return to Forever.