PolyGram Releases Kronfeld From Contract

Eric Kronfeld, president and chief operating officer of PolyGram's domestic music division, was released from his contract Tuesday--five months after making an allegedly racist remark in a court deposition.

Kronfeld, who oversaw legal affairs and human relations for PolyGram's U.S. labels, suggested in the Oct. 17 deposition that if record companies were prevented from hiring people with criminal records, no African Americans would be working in the music industry.

Five days later, the Dutch-owned conglomerate dismissed Kronfeld from its management board. In November, it apologized for his "appalling" remark and replaced him with Clarence Avant, a black executive at PolyGram's Motown Records.

Sources said Kronfeld's contract ended nearly two years early. In a short statement, he and PolyGram said the move was "part of a company restructuring to pursue his own entrepreneurial activities."

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