MBW can reveal that the Chairman of UK-based Parlophone Records, Miles Leonard, is set to leave the company by the end of next year.
Our sources tell us that Leonard has agreed an exit plan with Warner’s global head of recorded music, Max Lousada.
This will see Leonard continue to contribute to top-level A&R at the company well into 2018 – a phased departure reminiscent of that recently enacted for Bob Hurwitz at WMG label Nonesuch.
British A&R veteran Leonard first joined EMI-owned Parlophone over 20 years ago from Virgin Records – where he signed The Verve as a scout in 1991.
The exec has since signed and developed some of Parlophone’s biggest worldwide success stories including Coldplay, Gorillaz, Kylie Minogue and Tinie Tempah.
He was named Chairman at the label after it was acquired by Warner Music Group in 2013.
We’re told that Lousada is taking Leonard’s counsel on who his replacement could be – and there are already a couple of names in the rumor mill.
MBW sources suggest that Atlantic Records‘ respected General Manager in London, Mark Mitchell, is in line for a leadership role at Warner – and definitely in the frame for Parlophone.
Amongst other notable achievements, Mitchell is regarded as the exec principally in charge of Ed Sheeran’s hugely successful UK marketing plot.
Meanwhile, we hear that Virgin EMI’s SVP of A&R, Nick Burgess, is also considered a potential part of the succession plan at the top of Parlophone.
Burgess has recently worked with artists at Virgin EMI including Blossoms and Bastille – but is believed to be contracted to Universal into 2019.
In a separate move, MBW understands that two key members of the Parlophone A&R team in the UK – Nathan Thompson and Harry Lloyd-Jones – departed last month.
Although other major changes at Parlophone are expected in the wake of Leonard stepping down, we’re told that A&R Director and dance specialist Elias Christidis – who has recently worked with breakout act Disciples – may be in line for a new role.
Could Mitchell and Burgess end up running Parlophone together?
That would mirror Lousada’s recent move at Warner Bros in California – bringing together a marketing specialist (Tom Corson) with an A&R expert (Aaron Bay-Schuck) as a label management duo.
Watch this space.Music Business Worldwide