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This profile was last updated on 6/5/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Kevin W. Liles

Wrong Kevin W. Liles?

Founder and Chief Executive Offic...

KWL Management LLC
304 Park Avenue S 11Th Floor
New York , New York 10010
United States

Company Description: Founded in 2009, KWL Management is a holistic talent management firm helping artists, athletes, and celebrities reach their potential in a rapidly changing,...   more

Employment History


  • Bachelor of Science degree
    Texas A&M University
  • law degree
    Baylor Law School
  • Bachelor of Science
    Texas A&M University
  • Juris Doctorate degree
    Baylor Law School
187 Total References
Web References
The SEED Foundation » School Board, 23 Dec 2012 [cached]
Kevin LilesKevin Liles Kevin Liles is an accomplished businessman, philanthropist, and author. Currently, he is president and CEO of KWL Enterprises. Mr. Liles is the former President and CEO of Def Jam Enterprises and former Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group. In addition to serving on The SEED School of Maryland board, he also serves as board member/advisor to Ogilvy & Mather diversity board, New Yorkers for Children, Junior Achievement of New York, The Executive Leadership Council, Harbor Bank, and HealthCorps. He is the bestselling author of Make It Happen: the Hip Hop Generation's Guide to Success and oversees both Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore, which invests in the Baltimore community, and the Make It Happen Foundation, which empowers African American youth to succeed in the business world.
Kevin Liles, CEO of ..., 12 Nov 2014 [cached]
Kevin Liles, CEO of KevDar Kevin Liles, CEO of KevDar High Purity Components, is former Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group and the former President and CEO of Def Jam Records. He currently serves on many Corporate Advisory Boards and Boards of Directors, including the NFL Players Association advisory board, Ogilvy & Mather, Harbor Bank, Healthcorps, as well as many others. Kevin is the best selling author of "Make It Happen-From Intern to President" and his philanthropic initiatives include the Make It Happen Foundation and Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore.
Additionally, Kevin is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, the preeminent organization that recognizes the strengths, success, contributions, and impact of African-American corporate business leaders.
KEVIN LILES | Biography, 20 Jan 2015 [cached]
Kevin Liles ascent from unpaid intern to president, author, philanthropist, motivational speaker and consultant to many entertainment and political boards began in 1991 when he became an unpaid intern for Def Jam in the Mid-Atlantic region. By 1993, he had become the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Manager and by 1998, after only seven years, Liles accepted the position of President of the Def Jam Music Group. During his tenure as President, Def Jam revenues doubled to $400 million. In addition to presiding over the label’s artist roster and day-to-day business at Def Jam, Liles oversaw the diversification of the Def Jam brand, including establishing Def Jam South, Def Soul, Def Soul Classics, Roc-A-Fella and Murder Inc. He also led the brand-extension efforts and cross marketing deals that linked Def Jam's name to movies, television, DVDs, clothing, financial services, mobile content and video games. As President and CEO, Liles spearheaded Def Jam Interactive â€" to partner with Electronic Arts â€" which led to the creation of three Def Jam-branded video games and over ten different sku's.
Following the merger that created the Island/Def Jam Music Group in 2002, Kevin Liles added the title of executive vice president of Island Def Jam Music Group to his resume. Thanks to his uncanny ability to provide leadership while allowing artists the freedom to create, he has been instrumental in the success of and eventual cross-over of many artists who have made the leap from “performer†to “global brand†â€" Jay Z, Hoobastank, Ludacris, Sum 41, Ja Rule, LL Cool J, DMX, Kanye West, Musiq Soulchild and Ashanti.
By 2004, Liles joined Warner Music Group as Executive Vice President and by 2005; he was part of the executive team that took the company public. As the chief executive behind the implementation of WMG’s new 360-degree strategy for enhanced artist partnerships, Liles oversaw the expansion of the traditional record company role in the artist’s career. His expertise in all facets of artist relations and brand expansion allowed for successful, complete partnerships with artists in each facet of their careers - fan clubs and ticketing, endorsements and licensing, artist management, TV production and merchandising.
Throughout 2008, Liles was instrumental in assembling a coalition of like-minded entertainers who made strategic visits to swing states in the final weeks before the historic Presidential election. Liles, along with Jay-Z, Beyonce, P. Diddy, Russell Simmons & Mary J. Blige encouraged Americans to exercise their right to vote.
Currently, Liles is a committee chairman on the upcoming Jay-Z & Friends “Answer The Call†Charity Concert, taking place at Madison Square Garden on September 11, 2009 and benefitting the NYC Police and Fire Widow and Children’s Benefit Fund.
Liles serves as board member/ advisor to Ogilvy & Mather diversity board, New Yorkers For Children, Junior Achievement of New York, The Executive Leadership Council, The SEED School of Maryland, Harbor Bank, and HealthCorps. He is the bestselling author of Make It Happen: the Hip Hop Generation’s Guide to Success and oversees both Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore, which invests in the Baltimore community, and the Make It Happen Foundation, which empowers African-American youth to succeed in the business world.
Warner Music Group - Investor Relations - News Releases [cached]
Kevin Liles Departs Warner Music Group to Shift Towards Entrepreneurial Endeavors
NEW YORK, NY, Sep 03, 2009 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) announced today that Executive Vice President Kevin Liles has decided to leave his day-to-day role at the company to pursue his own entrepreneurial opportunities. He will maintain a consulting relationship with the company. In making the announcement, WMG Chairman and CEO, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., said, "Kevin Liles is an exceptional executive and one of the most dynamically creative individuals in the industr...
Location Changes to Accommodate Demand; Celebrity Appearances by LL Cool J, Nia Long, Roy Williams, The Naked Brothers, Cassie and Others at Event Honoring Warner Music Group Executive Vice President and Author of the Book "Make It Happen" Kevin Liles and His Family NEW YORK, NY, Feb 22, 2008 -- The TJ Martell Foundation announced today that their 9th Annual TJ Martell Foundation Family Day fundraising event being held on Sunday, March 2nd, 2008 will be returning to the legendary Roseland B...
Finalists Arrive In New York City To Work For Promotions To Top Spot at Warner Music Group's Newly Created Record Label New Video Episodes To Air Daily Through November Featuring Artists And Industry Heavyweights Jason Mraz, TI, Fallout Boy, Russell Simmons, Ahmet Ertegun, Kevin Liles And More New York, NY - October 18, 2005 - Competition kicks off tomorrow Wednesday, October 19 with the premiere episode of "The Biz" as the top finalists find out what it takes to be the ...
Gale - Free Resources - Black History - Biographies - Sources, 30 July 2003 [cached]
Kevin Liles Gale - Free Resources - Black History - Biographies - Sources Gale Cart Wish List Sign In My Account
Kevin Liles
At the age of 30, after just ten years with the company, Kevin Liles was promoted to president of leading rap label Def Jam Records. Four years later he was appointed vice president of Island Def Jam Music Group, the label's parent company. By that time he was widely acknowledged as a driving force behind the doubling revenue of Def Jam. Instrumental in the careers of superstars like Jay-Z, Ja Rule, and DMX, Liles also had his hand in spin-off labels Def Soul and Def Jam South, as well as joint music recording ventures, Roc-A-Fella and Murder Inc. A cross-branding whiz, Liles also forged deals that tied Def Jam in with products ranging from clothing to video games. With his ability to impart professional respect on an industry often impeded by its gangster rep, Liles was touted as one of the few hip-hop/rap executives that had what it took to segue into a management suite in corporate America.
Born in 1968 and raised in Maryland, Liles enjoyed a comfortable life made possible by his hardworking parents.
After graduating from Woodlawn High School in 1986, Liles abandoned music to pursue an engineering degree. However, hip-hop and rap held a powerful grip on Liles and 13 credits short of a degree he left college in 1989 to form a rap group with a couple of friends. Numarx found modest success with a regional record label and recorded several songs including "Girl You Know It's True," written by Liles.
It was frustrating for Liles, particularly when it was discovered that the duo had lip-synched the song. After that Liles veered toward the business side of music. "I wanted to start my own company where musicians could be treated fairly and I could be more in control of my business interests," he told Crain's New York Business. In 1991 he established MBR (Marx Brothers Records). A year later he joined Def Jam as an unpaid intern.
Home to superstars like Jay-Z, LL Cool J, and DMX, Def Jam was the perfect environment for Liles to grow in. As the intern for the mid-Atlantic regional manager, Liles quickly developed a reputation as hard-working, disciplined, and committed to the music.
Lyor Cohen, the CEO of Island Def Jam agreed, telling Billboard, "Kevin is such a rare personality in this business, where everyone is impressed by the flash-the dinners, the cars, the clothes.
Both Simmons and Cohen kept an eye on Liles and ushered him quickly through their ranks.
In 1994 Liles replaced his boss as mid-Atlantic manager. That same year he became general manager of promotions for the West Coast. He hired a West Coast staff including a regional manager and oversaw promotional campaigns for Def Jam artists. Meanwhile he stayed on top of the music scene on the West Coast, always searching for new artists. In 1996 he was promoted again, this time to general manager/VP of promotions. Two years later he became the first president in the company. In the newly minted role, Liles would oversee Def Jam's daily operations and the search for new talent.
"This is kind of like what I've been doing all along," Liles told Billboard of the promotion.
In 2000 Liles told Billboard that a successful label president must possess "Leadership by example, confidence and security in one's abilities, hard work, and teamwork. Those traits prompted Crain's New York Business to write "Most Fortune 500 chief executives could learn a thing or two from Kevin Liles. Under his watch Def Jam's revenues doubled to $400 million. He was instrumental in the creation of sister label Def Soul, home to artists Montell Jordan and Kelly Price. He has also overseen cross-branding deals that have linked Def Jam's name with movies, television shows including the popular "Def Comedy Jam," and clothing labels including Phat Farm and Rocawear.
In 2003 Liles was the key player in Def Jam's partnership with independent video game publisher Electronic Arts. Together they released Def Jam Vendetta, a game in which Def Jam artists such as Ludacris and Redman duke it out to the background pulse of rap and hip-hop. For Liles it was a natural fit. "Ninety percent of the [rap] artists, athletes and entertainers are gamers," he was quoted in USA Today.
Liles said in an on-line interview on, "We want people looking to us as trendsetters.
Despite his unwavering support of the gangster image perpetuated by Def Jam's recordings and artists, Liles insisted that the company be run according to accepted corporate standards. When he assumed leadership at the label, staff members were used to arriving at the office just before lunchtime. He stopped that by arriving everyday at 8:30 am and expecting everyone else to follow suit. He instituted a two-ring policy on all incoming phone calls and began immediately rejecting memos, reports, and other office documents with misspelled words. Though he stuck to baggy clothing and flashy jewelry over business suits and ties, Liles demanded that all other aspects of the office be as professional as those in any other industry. "I want people to see that Def Jam breeds excellence, with young executives who could thrive in any other company," he told Crain's New York Business. Because of this commitment, Liles often gave employees much more responsibility than they would receive at other companies.
With profit as bottom-line, Liles also recognized that as a leader in a predominately black industry Def Jam was scrutinized more harshly by mainstream business observers. "Corporate America still doesn't believe we can manage our people and our money for ourselves," he told Crain's New York Business. With the Def Jam empire encompassing nearly half a billion dollars, corporate America was fast changing its mindset, and Liles was also looking to greater things. He confessed to Crain's New York Business a desire to run a company "like Coca-Cola or American Express."
Gave Back to Baltimore
While waiting to move into a corner suite in a mainstream corporation, Liles continued to improve his own corner of the world. In 2002 Liles donated $150,000 to his alma mater, Woodlawn High School, to finish construction of a much-anticipated sports stadium. The project had been on the shelf for seven years due to lack of funding. "When I was asked to help support the Woodlawn Stadium project financially, I felt honored and I immediately said yes," Liles told The Cyber Krib. "When I was growing up, Woodlawn High School helped to provide me with a good education and great memories. For years to come, I want students who attend Woodlawn High School to have the same opportunities that I was given. Liles also established the Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation, an organization that provides academic, social, and financial opportunities to Baltimore youth who make efforts to improve the city. Liles has also been very active in the Rock the Vote movement spearheaded by Def Jam with the goal of registering 20 million young, urban voters over a five-year period.
Summer 2004: Liles resigned as president of Def Jam records, in the wake of failed contract negotiations. Source:Variety, July 12, 2004.
August 2004: Liles joined Warner Music Group as Executive Vice President. Source: "Kevin Liles Joins Warner Music Group as Executive Vice President. Press release, August 2004 (Retrieved January 15, 2009).
"Def Jam Web Chat, Kevin Liles," BBC, (July 30, 2003).
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