Ron Alexenburg selected for IAOTP’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Ron Alexenburg will be honored at the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) Annual Awards Gala in Nashville this December

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, April 12, 2024 / — Ron Alexenburg, Iconic Music Industry Executive, Record Promoter, Artist Developer and Consultant, was recently selected for The Lifetime Achievement Award for 2024 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for his outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitment to the industry.

Inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals is an honor in itself; only a few members in each discipline are chosen for this distinction. These special honorees are distinguished based on their professional accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership abilities, longevity in the field, other affiliations, and contributions to their communities. All Honorees are invited to attend the IAOTP annual award gala at the end of this year for a night to honor their achievements. Mr. Alexenburg will be honored at IAOTP’s annual awards gala at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN this December and will be featured on the famous Nasdaq Billboard in Times Square NYC during Fashion Week.

One of the music industry’s most charismatic and creatively intuitive forces and long renowned for his passion for cultivating and developing artists (legends and up and comers alike), Ron Alexenburg perfectly captures his meteoric rise and his extraordinary, nearly 61-year journey in the business with the title of his upcoming, star-studded and insider anecdote-filled memoir: From the Warehouse to the Penthouse.

While perhaps best known, and most quoted, as the executive who signed Michael Jackson to Epic Records – ultimately resulting in the label releasing Off the Wall and Thriller, which became the bestselling album of all time – the Chicago born visionary’s multi-faceted career includes equally impactful stints as Columbia’s top promotion man, and being the youngest VP in the company’s history; leadership of various independent labels, including the MCA affiliate Infinity Records; serving as professor of Music Business, Music Promotion and Marketing at New York University; and serving as an independent consultant for icons like The Beach Boys and developing singer-songwriters in all genres.

Starting with “California Dreamin’,” the first single he promoted to WLS for Chicago-based Garmisa Distributing Company, Alexenburg promoted, developed and/or signed era-defining artists who truly created the soundtrack of our lives. During his major label heyday and on to today, he has impacted the lives of hundreds of artists whose songs and albums have collectively sold in the hundreds of millions. These include Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Looking Glass’ “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl),” Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” The Jacksons’ “Enjoy Yourself,” Charlie Rich’s “The Most Beautiful Girl,” Charlie Daniel’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Heart’s “Barracuda,” Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell,” Spyro Gyra’s “Morning Dance,” Hot Chocolate’s “Every One’s A Winner,” Engelbert Humperdinck’s “After The Lovin,” Tom Jones’ “Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow,” and Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” – the last #1 hit of the 70s.

“Being a lyric person and respecting and championing songwriters whose work is often overlooked, I believe that the next #1 song is being written out there somewhere and I want to hear it,” Alexenburg says. “I’m always trying to figure out who the next artist will be that gives me goosebumps when I listen. Music has always been a challenging business, but since I started my own company with my own personal responsibilities in 1985, I’ve always loved going to work, helping young artists while continuing to guide some of those that I was fortunate enough to work with in the past who are still recording and performing.”

“What keeps me going are the songs, the creative people I get to work with, and getting high on the music, looking for the next opportunity to take a no and make it a yes, take a negative and turn it positive,” he adds. “I never had anyone knock on my door from radio and say, Okay, now what do you want me to play. I was always pitching and they were catching.”

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Alexenburg sang in the Temple choir and took up trumpet around nine or ten, which he says may explain why he loved working at Columbia with Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears and trumpeter Bill Chase. Yet he attributes his deeper early passion for music to his days emptying the 45’s from the jukebox at the bowling alleys his father owned after retiring as a butcher. The A-sides were often worn out, but he loved listening to the B-sides. The work ethic he inherited from his father served Alexenburg well, first on his paper route delivering The Southeast Economist for 25 cents, then setting pins at the bowling alley, becoming a pro bowler, single digit golfer and successful pool player. He also owned a sporting goods business at the age of 16. When he didn’t pass the interview for the University of Chicago to study pre-law, he abandoned his goal of becoming a criminal lawyer.

On that day, he cruised down Michigan Avenue in the ’57 Corvette he’d won in a bowling tournament and walked into the record distribution warehouse owned by his friend’s dad, Bert Loob, Lenny Garmisa, soon offered him a job as the counter man in the warehouse, facilitating orders for some of the top labels of the day, including Mercury, Prestige, Phillips, Fontana, ABC/Dunhill, United Artists and World Artists.

One of the most memorable moments from this time was discovering an open box with a stack of 45s that some employees were about to toss in the trash. When no one was looking, he took the box home only to discover that the single the company almost discarded was none other than “Love Me Do” by the Beatles, on Tolly Records. Speaking of the Fab Four, while Alexenburg claims that seeing boxes of “A Hard Day’s Night” being sold outside the warehouse changed his life, in person visits by Brian Hyland, Dusty Springfield and Jay Black (Jay and the Americans) also contributed to his developing passion for music and the people who make it. Among the first orders he filled were Manfred Mann’s “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and the Impression’s “Amen.”

Garmisa quickly offered him a job as his local promotions man, and Alexenburg began developing dynamic relationships with radio stations in Chicago and beyond, working songs for numerous record companies, including legendary jazz labels Prestige and Impulse! His desire to succeed on behalf of great artists led him to “never understand the word no” as he worked the James Bond soundtracks and records by Bobby Goldsboro and The Four Seasons. Not long after Alexenburg was married, Tom Noonan from Columbia affiliated Date Records took note of his powerhouse marketing talents and hired him as Regional Manager for Date Records, promoting releases in 18 states. After two years, Noonan invited him to move from Chicago to New York to become head of promotions for the Date Label. When Noonan became VP of Promotion for Columbia, he hired Alexenburg as his assistant, and when the legendary executive left the label in 1968, Alexenburg took over as Director of National Promotion.

Over the next few years, working under Clive Davis, he promoted records by Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Andy Williams, Janis Joplin, The Byrds, Barbara Streisand, Miles Davis, The Chambers Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel. He and his staff also came up with clever ideas to promote novelty records like The Cyrkle’s “Red Rubber Ball” (throwing balls on the floor of a prominent radio station in Detroit” and Sesame Street’s “Rubber Duckie.”

Alexenburg’s promotion to Senior VP and General Manager of Epic Records led to a dramatic turnaround in the Columbia affiliated label’s fortunes, with sales picking up 62% in the first four years as it became one of the industry’s hottest pop, soul, and country labels. Under the leadership of his incredible A&R and promotion staffs, which included heads of A&R Steve Popovich and Lenny Petze, in 1973 alone, Epic and the CBS Associated labels produced 23 gold records. The following year, the tally rose to 50. For five consecutive years, the Epic and CBS associated label signed, developed and successfully marketed more than 25 new artists, all of which achieved gold sales status, including two of the biggest selling LPs of all time, Boston’s self-titled debut album and Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell.”

At one point, the roster included over 100 artists, including Kansas, Looking Glass, Redbone, Heart (on the Epic subsidiary Portrait,) Patti Labelle’s trio Labelle, Sly, & The Family Stone, Jeff Beck, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Stevens (Monument Records,) Charlie Rich, Heart and Poco. During this era, Epic’s custom and distributed family of labels included Philadelphia International, home of the legendary songwriting team, Gamble & Huff and Bell, and their artists, The O’Jays, Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass, The Three Degrees (MFSB) Lou Rawls, Mums (Nils Lofgren), T-Neck (The Isley Brothers), Invictus, Kirshner (Kansas), Blue Sky (Edgar Winter), Rick Derringer, and the Stax Organization.

Overall, as Senior VP and General Manager of Epic and CBS Associated labels, Alexenburg increased sales from $6.5 million to over $285 million in just seven years, while playing an instrumental role in the development of 25 new artists, including The Jacksons, who, with Michael Jackson’s solo releases leading the way, would collectively go on to sell well over 100 million units.

In the late 70s, Alexenburg was offered one of the richest subsidiary label deals ever by MCA and became the CEO of Infinity Records, one of whose biggest hits was Rupert Holmes “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” from his Partners in Crime album. Other artists on the ultimately short-lived label were Dobie Gray, Hot Chocolate, New England, Orleans and jazz fusion band Spryo Gyra, whose gold selling 1979 album Morning Dance was a Hot 100 hit and a #1 on Adult Contemporary radio. Infinity is also the label which released ‘Pope John Paul II Sings at the Festival of Sacrosong.”

In the 80s, Alexenburg joined Peter and Trudy Meisel and Ariola (GMB) to establish Handshake Records, a Sony distributed label whose artists include the soft rock band Sneaker. Later in the decade, he partnered with Cy Leslie at the Sony-distributed Aegis Entertainment, the company released by Tommy James Hi-Fi album in 1990. In 1997, Alexenburg was tapped to helm National Records Company, a full spectrum indie label launched by the National Video Center Recording Studio in NYC.

Since 1990, Alexenburg has been a full-service music consultant for, among others, The Beach Boys, Cabin Fever Entertainment (a division of U.S. Tobacco), American R-Insurance, Rawkus Entertainment (an affiliated company of James Murdoch), Philadelphia International Records and the long-running music industry publication GAVIN. His work with artists ranges from offering career advice to helping them assemble electronic press kits, shopping and finding publishing and label deals, and hooking them up with agents, managers and attorneys. He is currently consulting for up-and-coming singer-songwriters in the pop-rock realm, Broadway musicals, film and musical documentaries.

In an industry where relationships are often short lived and breakups and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” (the Tammy Wynette Epic Records classic) are the norm, Alexenburg stands out as a devoted family man, married to his wife Rochelle for 58 years. He turned down many influential executive positions in Los Angeles, but never want to move from New York to the West Coast until years later when he realized his four grandchildren were growing up without him. He’s the proud father of daughters Ivy and Marnie and son Ari who is recently deceased, a devoted grandpa to Max, Ryan, Cosette (aka Cosie), and Braydn and brother to Dean Alexenburg.

Mr. Alexenburg is the current President of Hollywood Media Professionals and is a board member and an inductee into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.

“I have been blessed to work over the years with some of the greatest staffs and music executives, and as an independent consultant. I draw inspiration from everything I have learned from them to help create and develop opportunities for new and developing artists,” Alexenburg says. “I still look forward to going to work and putting my reputation on the line to support the talented people whose songs deserve and drive my passion for success on their behalf. I believe God gave me the gift of music, and I know how to love and give love and how to be affectionate and give affection, and also how to cry if the songs so move me. In regard to everyone I work with in this business, if I want you to like me, you will, and if I don’t want you to like me, you will. If at the end of the day, I’m still having fun, that’s all I can ask for and hopefully, my instincts are correct more of the time than not.”

The President of the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP), Stephanie Cirami, stated: “Choosing Mr. Alexenburg for this honor was an easy decision for our panel to make. He is inspirational, influential, and a true visionary and thought leader. We cannot wait to meet him and celebrate his accomplishments at this year’s gala.”


The International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) is an international boutique networking organization that handpicks the world’s finest, most prestigious top professionals from different industries. These top professionals are given an opportunity to collaborate, share their ideas, be keynote speakers, and to help influence others in their fields. This organization is not a membership that anyone can join. You have to be asked by the President or be nominated by a distinguished honorary member after a brief interview.

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