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From Music to Helicopters: The Entrepreneurial Journey of Rob Weisenthal

Apr 4

An American businessman, Rob Wiesenthal (born June 22, 1967), served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Sony Corporation of America until June 2012, where he was responsible for corporate development, mergers, and acquisitions. He was also the Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Sony Entertainment Inc. and Group Executive of Sony Corporation. Later, from 2012 to June 2015, he became the Chief Operating Officer of Warner Music Group. Presently, Wiesenthal is the head of Blade, an aviation start-up.

During his childhood, Rob Weisenthal  grew up in Manhattan, New York City, with his father Richard, who sold “I Love Lucy” reruns for Telepictures in Latin America, and shared his love of gadgets and entertainment. In high school, he co-wrote a book for Ziff-Davis on personal computers and studied robotics in his spare time. In 1988, Wiesenthal graduated from the University of Rochester, receiving a B.A. degree cum laude in Political Science.

Wiesenthal's business career began when Bruce Wasserstein hired him as a junior investment banker at First Boston after he had fixed Wasserstein's printer. He joined First Boston's Mergers & Acquisitions group in 1986 and later joined their Media group in 1993. In 1999, he was named Managing Director of Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) and headed its entertainment and digital media efforts under Frank Quattrone. As one of CSFB's lead media bankers, he advised on notable transactions, including Seagram’s $5.7 billion acquisition of MCA Inc., Liberty Media’s merger with TCI, News Corp’s $3.2 billion purchase of New World Communications, and Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.’s acquisition of Telemundo, the nation’s second largest Spanish televisual media sector.



Rob Weisenthal has had an illustrious career in the entertainment, media, and technology industries. He started his career as a corporate attorney at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He then went on to work at Bear Stearns, where he was a Vice President in the investment banking division.

In 1994, Rob Weisenthal joined Sony Music Entertainment as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He held several other senior executive positions at Sony Music, including Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, Executive Vice President of Sony Music Europe, and Executive Vice President of Sony Music Asia.

In 2007, Rob Weisenthal left Sony Music to join Universal Music Group, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He played a critical role in Universal Music Group's acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2012, which was the largest music publishing deal in history.

After leaving Universal Music Group, Rob Weisenthal founded a strategic advisory firm called Invention Highway, which specializes in helping companies navigate the intersection of media, entertainment, and technology. Invention Highway has worked with several high-profile clients, including Sony Music, Time Warner, and Tencent.

In addition to his work in the business world, Rob Weisenthal has also been involved in the entertainment industry as an executive producer. He produced the hit Broadway musical "Rock of Ages," which ran for six years and grossed over $300 million worldwide. He also produced the Tony Award-winning play "The Humans" and the critically acclaimed film "Puzzle."

Founding BLADE

In addition to his work in the entertainment and media industries, Rob Weisenthal is also known for his entrepreneurial ventures. In 2014, he founded Blade, a helicopter and private jet transportation company that provides on-demand services for travelers.

Blade has revolutionized the transportation industry by offering a mobile app that allows users to book seats on helicopters, seaplanes, and private jets. The company has a strong presence in the Northeastern United States, with frequent flights between New York City and popular destinations such as the Hamptons, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard.

Under Rob Weisenthal's leadership, Blade has expanded its offerings to include luxury experiences such as exclusive events, private charters, and partnerships with high-end hotels and resorts. Blade has also partnered with major airlines such as American Airlines and Delta Air Lines to offer seamless connections between commercial flights and Blade's private aircraft.

Rob Weisenthal's vision for Blade has been to make air travel more accessible and convenient for people, particularly those in urban areas. The company has been successful in attracting a younger demographic that values speed, efficiency, and luxury. Blade's success has been recognized by investors, with the company raising over $140 million in funding to date.

In addition to his work with Blade, Rob Weisenthal is also involved in other entrepreneurial ventures in the technology and real estate industries. His ability to identify opportunities and create innovative solutions has made him a respected leader in the business community.

Bottom Line: Rob Weisenthal is The American Dream

Rob Weisenthal is a true pioneer in the entertainment, media, and technology industries. His expertise in finance, business strategy, and entertainment has made him a sought-after advisor and executive. He has made significant contributions to the music industry and has played a critical role in several high-profile deals. His work as a producer has also left a lasting impact on the world of entertainment. With his extensive experience and knowledge, Rob Weisenthal is sure to continue making waves in the business world for years to come.