Apple hires Universal’s Brian Rose as David Hawkes steps up at UMG

Apple has made a major appointment in the UK market, hiring Universal Music’s Brian Rose – who leaves the major after 13 years.

Island’s David Hawkes will directly replace Rose at Universal, moving up to become MD of Universal Music UK’s Commercial Division.

Apple declined to comment on the hiring of Rose when contacted by MBW… but we’ve worked out which job the exec has accepted.

Apple was recently advertising for a position – as featured in MBW’s weekly Jobs Update – for a UK & Ireland Country Manager, Apple Music & iTunes.

“Pursue one common goal: entertain more people with better content.”

Apple job ad for iTunes/Apple Music UK & Ireland Country Manager

The successful candidate, said the ad, would be tasked with ‘leading, managing and growing the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes & iBooks businesses’.

All indications suggest this is Rose’s new position – and it will obviously see him manage more than just music at Apple UK.

The news comes two months after Neil West, former iTunes Europe Head of Music, took a new job at Apple heading up apps, games and music in Southern Europe.

Brian Rose (pictured right) joined Universal in 2003 from BMG as Group Sales Director UK & Ireland.

He has been MD of Universal Music UK’s Commercial Division for the past 11 years.


David Hawkes is promoted to MD of Universal Music UK’s Commercial Division after 14 years with Island Records, most recently as General Manager.

Since 2014 he has also been Group Director of e-Commerce across Universal Music UK.

Reporting to Universal Music UK COO David Sharpe, Hawkes (pictured left) will now add sales, central digital and audience research/insights to his responsibilities.

Universal Music UK chairman & CEO David Joseph said: “David has a potent combination of experience from traditional bricks and mortar retail through to the fast-evolving streaming market, as well as being a constant innovator throughout his time at Island.

“There is no question the whole business will feel the benefit of his entrepreneurial approach in his new role.”

David Joseph“There is no question the whole business will feel the benefit of David’s entrepreneurial approach.”

David Joseph, Universal Music UK

Joseph added: “David will be picking up from the fantastic job Brian has done in his 13 years with us.

“Brian has made an immeasurable contribution to Universal Music UK, striking deals which have changed the shape of our business as well as overseeing countless exceptional retail campaigns for our artists. We wish him all the very best for the future.”

Hawkes joined Island from Kingfisher Group in 2002 as Head of Sales.

He was promoted to Commercial Manager in 2006, expanding his role and the horizons of the Island team with web stores and ticketing offers for the likes of Portishead, Keane, Mumford & Sons and Florence + the Machine.

He also orchestrated the roll out of the successful Star In The Hood clothing line.

Hawkes was promoted to Commercial Director at Island in 2010, branching into areas of brand management, licensing and finance, before becoming General Manager in 2014.

David Hawkes said: “The rapid evolution of our business including the growth in streaming and the robustness of physical music-buying makes this an exciting, challenging and enjoyable time to be taking this next step in my career, working with the supremely talented people across both Universal’s labels and our business partners.”Music Business Worldwide

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