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Entertainment Executive Known for Forging Urban Partnerships Wins Prestigious Leadership Award

Entertainment Executive Known for Forging Urban Partnerships Wins Prestigious Leadership Award

Published 05-02-07

Submitted by ICIC

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 2, 2007--An entertainment executive who had long been known for forging pioneering partnerships between iconic brands and inner city communities won the prestigious National Inner City Economic Leadership Award tonight. Kenneth T. Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment and the former head of Johnson Development Corporation, received the award at the ninth annual Inner City 100 Summit at the Copley Westin Hotel, Boston MA.

The National Inner City Economic Leadership Award is given annually by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) to an individual who has made a significant contribution to revitalizing the economies of America's inner cities. Each spring as part of the Inner City 100 Summit - an event that draws more than 1,000 business, civic, and community leaders - one person is singled out for a passionate commitment to the financial well-being of inner city communities.

Lombard is the latest distinguished American to win the National Inner City Economic Leadership Award. Other winners include Victor MacFarlane of MacFarlane Partners, the largest minority-owned real estate management firm in the U.S.; Earvin "Magic" Johnson; Harriet Michel, President and CEO of the National Minority Supplier and Development Council, and former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros.

"Ken Lombard is an urban pioneer without precedent," said Michael Porter, Harvard Business School professor and founder of ICIC, who presented the award. "More than a decade ago, when inner cities were places from which capital and institutions were fleeing, he partnered with national companies to do business in inner city communities. More recently, as President of Starbucks Entertainment, Ken has expanded Starbucks music and other entertainment interests while forging key alliances with organizations like the NAACP. His innovative partnerships underscore both the social and economic returns that result from investing in inner cities, and inspire other corporate leaders to consider inner cities for investment opportunities."

During his 1992-2004 tenure as president of Johnson Development Corporation, an urban development organization founded by Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Lombard led a joint venture with Loews Cineplex Entertainment that brought first-class movie houses - known as Magic Johnson Theaters - back to the inner city. He convinced T.G.I. Friday's to open restaurants in minority communities. And his partnership with Starbucks Coffee Company led to the opening of more than 100 inner-city coffee shops across America.

Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz was so impressed with Lombard that he hired him in 2004 to lead the company's entertainment division. As president of Starbucks Entertainment, Lombard has created partnerships not only with authors, musicians, and film distributors but also with nonprofits like the NAACP. Earlier this year, Starbucks and the NAACP teamed up to restore New Orleans' famous Dooky Chase's restaurant, which had been badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

In just three years at the helm of Starbucks Entertainment, Lombard has presided over a slate of achievements in music, film and literature, fulfilling the Starbucks mission of becoming the "third place," as well as establishing the brand as an innovative channel for the promotion and distribution of entertainment.

In March 2007, Lombard led the charge for Starbucks innovative partnership with Concord Music Group in the formation of Hear Music, a new music label that will work directly with artists, both emerging and established, to help connect them with the widest possible audience. Lombard was instrumental in landing Paul McCartney as the first artist to appear on the Hear Music label.

Other phenomenal successes include the Starbucks Hear Music/Concord Records co-marketed and co-released CD, Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company," winner of eight GRAMMY(R) Awards, including Record of the Year and Album of the Year; the global release of the Starbucks Hear Music/Hancock Music/Vector Recordings co-marketed and co-released CD, Herbie Hancock's "Possibilities," nominated for two GRAMMY(R) Awards in 2006; and another Starbucks Hear Music/Concord Records co-venture, Sergio Mendes' "Timeless," was nominated for three Latin GRAMMY(R) Awards, including Record of the Year in 2006.

Lombard helped launch the Starbucks Hear Music(TM) Channel 75 on XM Satellite Radio and under Lombard's direction, Starbucks Entertainment partnered with Apple to offer the Starbucks Hear Music catalog on the iTunes store via a separate Starbucks Entertainment page within iTunes. This innovative alliance marked the first time Apple allowed editorial guidance and content developed by a partner outside of Apple to appear within the iTunes store.

In film, Lombard led the Starbucks partnership with Lionsgate to market and distribute "Akeelah and the Bee." In literature, Lombard championed Starbucks first foray into book sales by offering Mitch Albom's national best-seller For One More Day to customers at Starbucks locations across the U.S. That success was followed up with its second literary offering, A Long Way Gone, by first time author, Ishmael Beah, a book that achieved both critical and commercial success.

"Ken was promoting inner city partnerships and social responsibility long before these business approaches were popular," said Dorothy Terrell, president and CEO of ICIC. "As a savvy business innovator dedicated to improving the inner city for many years, particularly in his work with Johnson Development Corporation and now with Starbucks Entertainment, he has proven that fiscally responsive business strategies and socially responsible goals are not mutually exclusive goals."

"As a longtime supporter of ICIC and its mission, I am deeply moved by this honor," said Lombard. "When I became involved in encouraging businesses to set up shop in the inner city, it was my hope that others would follow that lead. Thanks in large part to the ICIC, I'm proud to say that it's happening."

About the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. ICIC's mission is to promote economic prosperity in America's inner cities through private sector engagement that leads to jobs, income and wealth creation for local residents. ICIC brings together business and civic leaders to drive innovation and action, transform thinking and accelerate inner city business growth and investment.

Copyright Business Wire 2007



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