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Hamlen to IMG

Sometimes a good business move is also a good public-relations move. IMG Artists, the leading classical-music management company, recently came under a cloud when its chairman and major shareholder since 1993, Barrett Wissman, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in April and pledged to pay back some $12 million over the next three years.

Today, IMG unexpectedly announced a new chairman -- or rather, a new old chairman: Charles Hamlen. Hamlen was a co-founder, 30 years ago, of the company that became IMG. In 1993, he took the surprising step of leaving the company he had founded and devoting himself to raising money to fight AIDS. His organization Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS has raised millions of dollars for AIDS organizations and relief funds. In 2004, he was made a "Chevalier of the order of Arts and Letters" by the French government.

He has also remained a widely admired and popular figure in a business that is seldom unanimous about anything. It will be fascinating to see how he negotiates this return to his former job (with Wissman, who is stepping down as chairman, retaining some unspecified advisory function). But the appointment of someone so well known as a good, decent person certainly helps IMG remove any associative taint stemming from his predecessor's questionable business practices.

By Anne Midgette  |  June 23, 2009; 1:50 PM ET
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