Warner Music Group has appointed Kei Ishizaka as Chairman & CEO, Warner Music Japan.
Ishizaka’s responsibilities will include finding and nurturing the local talent, creating new opportunities for international artists and expanding the company’s range of artist services. Effective from November 1, he will report to Lachie Rutherford, President, Warner Music Asia Pacific.
The exec arrives at Warner Music from Universal Music, where he was a Senior Advisor for the company and non-Executive Chairman, Universal Music Japan. He joined the company in 1994 as President, Universal Music Japan (then PolyGram K.K.), rising to President/CEO in 2001 and becoming Chairman and Chief Executive in 2006. Under Kei Ishizaka’s leadership, Universal Music LLC (Japan) made history in 2008 by becoming market leader for the first time since its formation over 50 years earlier.
Ishizaka has been a board member of the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) since 1999, becoming Chairman in 2007, and continuing to act as the organisation’s Senior Advisor today.
In 2009, the Emperor of Japan awarded him Medal with Purple Ribbon in recognition of his contribution to the record industry. Before his tenure at Universal Music, Ishizaka was at Toshiba-EMI for 26 years.
At EMI he rose to Executive Director in 1991, having worked with international legends including Pink Floyd and John Lennon as well as local superstars such as BOOWY and Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi.
Lachie Rutherford said, “One of this industry’s most accomplished executives, Kei Ishizaka continues to help define modern Japanese music. His unique combination of creative instinct, business acumen and operational experience makes him a world-class partner for our artists and leader for our team. With Kei at the helm, Warner Music Japan will aggressively extend its A&R activities and move into the next exciting phase of its evolution.”
Lyor Cohen, Chairman & CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group said, “Kei Ishizaka is a great music man from one of the world’s most vibrant and important music cultures. He has a deep understanding of Japanese music, an industry-leading track record and a career-long commitment to artist development. These attributes will see Kei contribute much to the continued success of our core mission: signing and nurturing extraordinary artists.“
Kei Ishizaka said, “I have always been impressed by Warner Music’s energetic artist-centric approach and I am looking forward to working with Lachie Rutherford, Lyor Cohen and the rest of the talented team. We have a shared vision of how a truly progressive music company must serve its artists. I plan to lead Warner Music Japan in building its digital leadership and reinforcing its reputation as a super cool home for outstanding artists who make spectacular music.”Music Business Worldwide