Lucian Grainge: Corporate gender discrimination makes no sense

Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge was awarded Variety’s 2016 EmPOWerment Award earlier this month for his status as “champion of female leadership”.

(POW, if you were wondering, stands for Power Of Women.)

The British exec, who signed a new five-year deal with UMG parent Vivendi last year, was honored in part for his progressive record of hiring female executives in senior positions.

Top global UMG execs today include: Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President and Member of the Executive Management Board; Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group and Member of the Executive Management Board; Wendy Goldstein, Republic Records Executive Vice President and Head of Urban A&R; Ethiopia Habtemariam, Motown Records President and Head of Urban Music at Universal Music Publishing Group; and Michelle Jubelirer, Capitol Music Group Chief Operating Officer.

Award-winning actress, director and producer Rosanna Arquette presented the award to Grainge on October 14 at Variety’s Power of Women luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons.

The event, in partnership with Lifetime Television, also honored Laverne Cox, Miley Cyrus, Ava DuVernay, Scarlett Johansson and Helen Mirren for being Hollywood’s most philanthropic women.

“At Universal, I believe that we recognize people for their abilities and potential, and focus on empowering the best amongst them,” Grainge told the audience.

“When you think about it, the maths is actually quite simple: in a world where roughly half the people are women, roughly half the very best leaders in the world are likely to be women too.”

He added: “I just try to give the people on my team the opportunity, time and freedom to develop to their real, full potential. I believe in meritocracy in the workplace.”

“Growing up as a young boy, I watched how hard [My mother] worked in order to support our family.”

Sir Lucian Grainge

Grainge praised his late mother for inspiring him. He explained she was one of the first 300 women in the UK to qualified as a chartered accountant back in the 1950s.

“At the time, becoming a CPA was a career that effectively didn’t exist for women – it was completely dominated by men,” he said. “But she didn’t let that stop her… she was extremely talented at what she did.”

Grainge said his mother, Marian, became the CFO of not-for-profit organizations including The London Zoo, The School Of Oriental and African Studies and The British Heart Foundation.

“Growing up as a young boy, I watched how hard she worked in order to support our family,” he added. “My father wasn’t as successful in his workplace as she was.

“I could see how strong she was, the sacrifices that she made as a working mother and how she felt about leaving her young family every morning.

“She used to say to me [that] when I got home from school: ‘There’s the potatoes, there’s the chicken, turn the dial up there, throw it in and eat it half an hour later.’

“She not only gave me a strong value system, but also that sense of possibility that drove her in her career – both still very dramatically guide me in everything that I do.

“Given her impact on my life… it’s especially meaningful for me to receive this award today, October 14th, because [coincidentally] it would have been her birthday.”

You can watch the full speech below.

Music Business Worldwide

Related Posts