Industry veteran John Fruin dies

Fruin, who held the top job at two major labels and also had a stint running the BPI, leaves a wife and two children.  His funeral takes place on November 8 at Ruislip crematorium.

Fruin had a remarkable career. He started as an office boy at EMI in the mid-Forties and worked his way up through the company before taking on the managing director role at Polydor in 1970.  He left there in 1977 to work at WEA before quitting in 1980 to start a new career on the distribution side of the business.  Fruin only recently ended his working days - as a consultant to his long standing friend Clive Calder at Zomba.

Jack Florey, who joined EMI with Fruin, says "He was always up for a laugh.  He was very charismatic and a born leader."

Another colleague, John Mair, who Fruin hired at EMI in 1964 when he was national sales manager, remembers him as "an inconic character".  Mair adds, "For me he was a remarkable leader."

BPI executive chairman Peter Jamieson says, "John was a real giant and in those days only two things mattered - what was between the grooves and sales and distribution.  He ruled the latter like a natural, he was the best."

Dave Harmer, director at Hermanex, who has worked in the industry since 1965 describes Fruin as a "major, major industry figurehead, who did a lot of work for the UK industry."

Embarrassingly Fruin, who was serving as WEA managing director and chairman of the BPI at the time, was embroiled in a major 1980 World in Action expose of chart rigging practices.  "Everyone was doing it at the time," explains Florey.  "John was the fall guy."  The probe into the industry malpractice effectively ended Fruin's years working at labels, but he demonstrated his entrepreneurial acumen and business skills by establishing SP&S in the early 80s, which quickly became Europe's largest wholesaler of deleted records.  Later, that company also acquired the Damont manufacturing plant in Hayes.  Fruin linked up with Calder in the early 90s and only quit that job a couple of years ago.


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