George Levendis

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George Levendis
Γιώργος Λεβέντης
BornSprings, South Africa
OriginAustralia
GenresPop, R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap, Rock, Dance Music, World Music, Folk
Occupation(s)television executive, Television Producer, music executive, general manager, television personality,
Years active1989–present
LabelsBMG Records Australia (Jive Zomba, Silvertone, Motown, Imago, Beggars Banquet, Volition, Possum Records, Deconstruction, Nettwerk Music Group, Private Music, Windham Hill), Arista UK, BMG Records Greece, Family The Label, Arista Records, Bad Boy records, LaFace records, Heaven Music, SonyBMG Entertainment (Columbia, Epic, RCA, Arista, J Records)
Associated actsWhitney Houston, Carlos Santana, P!nk, TLC, Puff Daddy/P.Diddy, Usher, Dido, Outkast, Patti Smith, Toni Braxton, Avril Lavigne, Lisa Stansfield, Prince, Sarah McLachlan, Kenny G, Baby Animals, Yianni, Marinella, Alkistis Protopsalti, Antonis Vardis, Phoebus (writer/producer), Despina Vandi, Giorgos Mazonakis, Michalis Hatzigiannis, Yiannis Kotsiras, Giannis Vardis

George Levendis (Greek: Γιώργος Λεβέντης), is a Global Television and record executive and is the COO of Acun Medya Global. He is currently focused on expanding the new Sports Reality format EXATHLON internationally for Acun Medya. Previously, from 2011 to 2018 he was Head of International for Syco TV, a joint venture between Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment. In this role he has been responsible for the international expansion of the X Factor & Got Talent as well working on Red or Black, Keep It In The Family, The Investigator & Food Glorious Food. During his tenure at Syco, Got Talent and the X Factor grew rapidly internationally. Got Talent has been produced in over 70 markets and the X Factor was sold to over 56 markets globally. Prior to this he was general manager of the Greek television network ANT1 the number 2 station in the Greek market and the largest Greek satellite station worldwide. Over the last 20 years, he has held Senior Management and International Marketing positions at a number of record companies, including Arista Records, Arista Records U.K., BMG Greece, BMG Australia, Heaven Music, and culminating as Senior Vice President of Sony BMG Global Marketing at the headquarters of Sony BMG in New York City. In this position, he oversaw worldwide campaigns for artists including Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Shakira, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Leona Lewis, Il Divo and Westlife. Under his control, Heaven Music was built into one of Greece's most successful independent music companies. He has been a judge on three seasons (2002-2004) of Fame Story (Star Academy) and three seasons (2008-2010) of The X Factor in Greece. In February 2011, he was the winning judge after three consecutive seasons on the Greek version of the singing competition The X Factor.

Background[edit]

George Levendis was born in South Africa to Greek parents.[1] From young age, he started working in his family's businesses, that included parent's jewelry business.[2] He later worked as a DJ.[2] Levendis soon moved with his family to Sydney, Australia where he attended Sydney Boys High School.[1][3] He pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of New South Wales and in 1992 graduated with a Master of Commerce in Marketing. He continued his further education graduating with a Master of Arts in Media Management from Macquarie University Graduate School of Management in 1994.[3]

Levendis started out at BMG Australia in 1989 as a third-party label manager.[3] In 1991, he began serving as an international label manager, eventually also serving as the Manager of International Product Development and the National Marketing Manager of BMG Australia, while in 1994 Levendis was promoted to General Manager of Marketing.[3] In 1995, Levendis left BMG Australia for Arista Records U.K., where he served as Marketing Director.[4] In 1997, he took over as General Manager at BMG Greece.[1][5] Later in 1999, he moved to Arista Records in New York where he served as Vice President of International Worldwide Marketing, while he was eventually promoted to Senior Vice President of Marketing in 2001.[6] While at Arista, Levendis helped capitalize on artists' global presence, as well as convincing international labels to release albums from Arista artists.[7] He also oversaw the international marketing campaigns for Carlos Santana's Supernatural, Whitney Houston's My Love is Your Love and Whitney: The Greatest Hits, TLC's FanMail, and Pink's Can't Take Me Home among others.[6]

In 2002, Levendis was hired as Managing Director/CEO with the launching of the Greek independent label Heaven Music, owned by ANT1 Group, which he helped build into one of Greece's most successful independent music companies,[6] while he also served as a judge on ANT1's singing competition show Fame Story.[8][9] He remained with Heaven Music and Fame Story until 2005, when he was hired by Sony BMG's global headquarters in New York to serve as Senior Vice President of Sony BMG Global Marketing Group.[10]

In 2008, Levendis was named General Manager of ANT1,[11] and the same year he began to serve as a judge on Greece's The X Factor. Since taking over, Levendis has repositioned Antenna as the most contemporary station in the Greek market. The rebranding strategy which included new logo, complete station makeover and a new internet strategy has placed Antenna to a new era. High rating shows include 'Greece Has Got Talent', 'Next Top Model'. 'Dancing with Stars','The X Factor', 'Radio Arvyla', 'Wipeout', 'The Next Uri Geller', 'Greys Anatomy', 'Ola', 'Axizis na to deis', and the morning show '10 to 1'. Antenna has once again entered the sports domain broadcasting Formula One, Greek A1 Basketball League, for the 2009 season and the UEFA EUROPA league for three consecutive years.

On The X Factor, Levendis has been characterized as the "good judge" and endeared himself to the Greek public with a professional, honest and humane judging style, while he has had confrontations with fellow judge Giorgos Theofanous on various issues.[12] In November 2009, relations between the two escalated when Theofanous mocked Levendis' Greek language skills.[13] Theofanous also criticized Levendis' tendency to vote for acts that sing predominantly international songs instead of Greek, claiming that there is currently a crisis in the Greek music industry.[14][15][16][17] In January 2010, Levendis' Greek language skills were put into question again when popular ANT1 talk show Radio Arvyla' created a fun parody of Levendis using an actual soundbite of him.[18] Levendis was the Managing Director & General Manager of Ant1 TV at this time. The parody became a viral hit in Greece and prompted the formation of a Facebook group, while Levendis later acknowledged it was funny and was bound to catch on.[19] Levendis and Radio Arvyla always maintained a strong bond as he managed the broadcaster that produced Radio Arvyla.

Personal life[edit]

Levendis met his wife Maria Mentis, a Greek-Australian, while living in Australia.[2] They have 3 children together, twins (a boy & girl) born in Manhattan NYC and a son born in Athens, Greece. Having completed her studies in Fashion Technology and Design, her career path included fashion retail area management, fashion merchandising, fashion buyer and fashion business owner in Sydney, Australia. Maria Mentis-Levendis was on the Board of Directors of the Make a Wish Foundation in Greece and played an integral part in the marketing and public relations of the charity. Make A Wish is the selected charity for Greece's high rating show 'Dancing with the Stars'[20] and Maria continues to be an active supporter of the charity. Throughout their expat assignments Maria has used her design background and management skills in various roles including photo shoot and video clip styling, interior design and event planning.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Staff (21 November 2001). "Ο Γιώργος Λεβέντης στη Heaven" (in Greek). MAD TV. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Papakostopoulou, Katerina (18 April 2009). Ο Λεβέντης έβαλε στοίχημα για την Καγιά (in Greek). Pagritia News. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d "MR. GEORGE LEVENDIS" (PDF). Advance 100 Global Delegates. Advance 100 Global Australian Summit 2006. 2006. p. 52. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  4. ^ Hunter, Nigel (31 May 1997). "Newsline..." 109 (22). Billboard: 58. Retrieved 20 January 2010. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Higgs, Adrian (July 21, 1997). BMG Entertainment. Billboard. p. 48. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c "George Levendis's Biography". Spoke.com. 2005. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  7. ^ Siegler, Dylan (May 13, 2000). "George Levendis & Co. Work To Create Buzz Abroad". 112 (20). Billboard: 64. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 2, 2010. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Staff (July 30, 2008). "Oι αδέκαστοι του X Factor" (in Greek). MAD TV. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  9. ^ Staff (May 26, 2004). Αποχώρησε η Σαββίνα (in Greek). ANT1. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  10. ^ Han, Sarah (March 26, 2005). "Record Companies: Sony BMG Global Marketing Group". 117 (13). Billboard: 30. ISSN 0006-2510. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Staff (4 April 2008). "Ο Γιώργος Λεβέντης ξανά στον ANT 1" (in Greek). MAD TV. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  12. ^ Staff (January 8, 2010). Λεβέντης: "Αυτό που ενδιαφέρει είναι ο καλός συνδυασμός των χαρακτήρων των κριτών" (in Greek). Innews.gr/Madame Figaro. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  13. ^ Staff (November 8, 2009). "Θεοφάνους vs Λεβέντη" (in Greek). Star Channel. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  14. ^ Staff (November 7, 2009). "Άγρια κόντρα Θεοφάνους-Λεβέντη στο X-Factor" (in Greek). livemovies.gr. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  15. ^ Kazoni, Sonia (January 17, 2009). Θεοφάνους εναντίον Λεβέντη: Τρέχει Κάστανο (in Greek). Yupi.gr. Archived from the original on May 12, 2009. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  16. ^ Staff (November 10, 2010). Έξαλλος ο Λεβέντης με τον Θεοφάνους (in Greek). iNews.gr. Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  17. ^ Staff (November 14, 2009). Περιστέρι ειρήνης από τον Θεοφάνους στον Λεβέντη (in Greek). gossip-tv.gr. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  18. ^ Radio Arvyla – January 26, 2010
  19. ^ Levendis, George (January 27, 2010). "George Levendis Official Facebook". Retrieved February 4, 2010.
  20. ^ Stamati, Sasa (January 16, 2010). Η γνωστή-άγνωστη σύζυγος του Γιώργου Λεβέντη (in Greek). Espresso Newspaper. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2010.