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Pop music veteran Bob Cavallo retires from Disney Music

June 1, 2011 |  5:38 pm

Lemonade mouth
Bob Cavallo, the pop music veteran who is credited with revitalizing Walt Disney Co.'s music group, will retire early next year. He will be succeeded by Ken Bunt, who will run the unit upon Cavallo's departure on Jan. 31.

The executive who once managed such artists as Green Day, Prince and Alanis Morissette joined Disney's troubled music group in 1998. Cavallo inherited the task of reversing the decade-long decline of the unit, which includes Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records.

Outside of the hit soundtrack for 1994's blockbuster movie "The Lion King," success in the record business was scarce for Disney. Its roster -- with the exception of lucrative distribution rights for the 1970s group Queen -- was thin. It had passed on such future stars as Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Dr. Dre.

Cavallo found the secret to a turnaround of Disney Music Group among Disney Channel's youthful stars. Hilary Duff, star of "Lizzie McGuire," released two soundtracks and five solo albums that have sold more than 10 million copies since 2002.

Disney Music built a roster of successful musical acts with its foundation in such tween TV phenoms as Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers, and soundtracks based on Disney Channel movies including "High School Musical," "Camp Rock" and "Lemonade Mouth."

Indeed, the "Lemonade Mouth" album debuted in the top 10 of the iTunes Store's album sales chart this spring, courtesy of repeated airings of the movie on Disney Channel.

“My time at Disney has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I’m so proud of where the music group has evolved to today,” Cavallo said in a statement. “This is an incredible team of music industry professionals, and I know I’m leaving it in the best hands.”

Bunt joined Hollywood Records and the Disney Music Group in 1998, helping to lead the company’s digital media strategy. He was promoted to senior vice president of marketing in 2005, responsible for working on the campaigns of such acts as Breaking Benjamin, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. He began his career at Rick Rubin’s Def American Recordings, where he worked with artists including the Black Crowes and Johnny Cash.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: Actors Adam Hicks, Blake Michael, Chris Brochu and Nick Roux arrive to the premiere of Disney Channel's "Lemonade Mouth." (Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)