Goodbye To All That…

Wednesday, June 5 2013
Goodbye To All That…

To say that Gennaro Castaldo leaving HMV marks the end of an era at the retailer – or the whole industry for that matter – is something of an understatement.

For almost 28 years, more than a quarter of a century, Castaldo was a constant within our industry and at the retailer. He’d been there through thick and thin, for good times and bad. Loyal to the end, even when signing off, sending emails to both the trade – suppliers and distributors he dealt with regularly – and his colleagues at HMV, Castaldo was still positive looking forward to the future of HMV.

Here’s someone well respected across the trade, someone who always managed to represent not just his paymasters, but the industry as a whole – think of the number of times you saw a national newspaper article about the business, the race for the Christmas number one, record sales for a particular title, and you saw Gennaro Castaldo’s name pop up, quoted and flying the flag for the entertainment business. He could have jumped ship when the going got tough at HMV, but he stayed to see the company through the worst of times. And at all times, despite the worst excesses of the press and its fevered speculation and trashing of the company he loved, Castaldo remained cheerful and upbeat, briefing about possible directions and plans for the company going forward.

And now he’s off to the BPI, with the music business’ gain being the overall entertainment industry’s loss. As we noted on our newsletter, we’re sure everyone in video and elsewhere will wish him all the best for the future.

Here’s some words from Castaldo himself on his departure…

“I’ve had the very best time at HMV and still can’t believe that I am actually leaving – it’s become my life support, and I know I’ll be incredibly sad when I walk through the doors a final time. Even with all its recent troubles I can’t think of another brand I’d rather have worked for. One reason why it felt so special there, aside from the fantastic colleagues in store an at head office, was that it gave me a very privileged opportunity to work with so many wonderful people across so many aspects of the film industry, whether that was Lavinia at the BVA, Liz at the Industry Trust and their teams, all the amazingly talented people at the studios on the theatrical or sell-through side or the many associates at the smaller indie labels and the agencies too. And it was great working with our trade journalists – Sam and his team at Cue and, of course, the amazing Tim Murray, who at times might as well have been an HMV employee such was his passion for our brand and his shared sense of indignation at the adverse and sometimes unfair headlines. We should value them more and not take them for granted.

“I absolutely love the film industry because it gives expression to our collective imagination and helps brings our dreams to life – engaging our emotions and senses in a way that few other mediums can come close to matching (alongside music perhaps – better say that). At times we perhaps get a bit blasé about the wonderful acting and amazing effects, but what our studios deliver day in day out is nothing short of miraculous, and we should all feel incredibly proud of what we achieve as an industry. We basically make people’s lives immeasurably better in a way that little else can, and we should never lose sight of that or ever feel we have to apologise for existing as business. Without the film studios (and the retailers to sell them!) there are no films. Simple as that.

“I’d better sign off before I get too emotional, but I am so grateful to everyone I have ever worked with for all their support and for the kindnesses they have shown me. I have been lucky to be invited to wonderful premieres and screenings – an incredible privilege that has given me many cherished memories, and for this I will remain forever grateful. If I have contributed anything in my time at HMV, then it’s down to the generous help and goodwill I have received from so many people across the wider entertainment biz. I’d like to wish everyone all the very best in return in the genuine hope that we can remain in touch and, perhaps, work together again one day. Finally, I’d like to wish everyone at new HMV and Fopp – Ian Topping and his directors, the team at Hilco, the amazing colleagues at head office, the distribution centres and, of course, the stores around the country, every success going forward. I know that our supplier partners, who have had to put up with so much, are keen to do all they can, and I get the feeling of a growing sense of optimism. I sense that this new chapter in HMV’s long history will be a very positive one that will surprise a few people, and long may that be the case – as a healthy and successful HMV is everyone’s interests.”

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