Lucian Grainge hands Ashley Newton dual role at UMG and Capitol

Lucian Grainge

One of the most successful A&Rs in the US record industry, British exec Ashley Newton, has officially been named President of Universal‘s Capitol Music Group – reporting into his one-time Columbia boss Steve Barnett.

But Newton’s new gig at Universal, which comes after more than a decade at Sony, doesn’t end there: in a dual role, he has also been named Executive Vice President of Creative/Special Projects at UMG, directly reporting into Lucian Grainge.

The latter position will see Newton work closely with Grainge and his UMG executive team on a variety of creative endeavors, including music, film and television projects.

Newton (pictured above with Steve Barnett) will be based in Hollywood at CMG’s iconic Capitol Tower.

Newton’s arrival at CMG reunites him with Capitol Music Group CEO & Chairman Barnett who, while Co-Chairman and COO of Columbia Records, appointed Newton to the Columbia Presidency in 2010.

The duo worked together at the Sony company for three years, before Barnett jumped ship to UMG’s Capitol in late 2012.

After that point, Newton worked alongside Columbia boss Rob Stringer in the US, helping take Adele to record-breaking heights in the market.

During his time at Columbia, Newton also signed and worked with Daft Punk  – whose 2013 release, Random Access Memories, sold 8 million TEAs worldwide and won Grammys for Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year (for the global smash, “Get Lucky”), along with numerous other awards.

His CV also contains his work with Pharrell Williams, whose “Happy” single was the most successful track of 2014.

According to Barnett, “Ashley is one of the most artist-friendly, committed and successful creative executives in music, and a fierce proponent for taste and aesthetics.

“It’s a testament to his great abilities that his successful artist associations span The Spice Girls to Adele to Kings Of Leon to D’Angelo to Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams.

“His extensive experience, artist and industry relationships and strong interpersonal skills will be of tremendous value to Capitol Music Group, and everyone in the company joins me in welcoming Ashley to the family.“

Ashley Newton_1

“Lucian and steve have provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime. It is a real honour to be joining them and their teams.”

Ashley Newton, UMG

Grainge said: “The revitalization of Capitol is no longer an aspiration, it’s a reality.  And now, as we embark on Capitol’s next phase of growth, we do so with Ashley Newton, a great addition to the company’s stellar management team led by Steve Barnett.

“With Ashley, we continue our strategy of having our company’s key positions held by executives with incredible creative track records and with deep artist development experience.

“As one of the industry’s most respected and accomplished executives, I’m looking forward to Ashley’s contributions at Capitol as well as UMG.”

Newton commented, “Lucian and Steve are true leaders who define excellence within our industry, and we share a philosophy that music must always remain the prevailing priority.  They have provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime, and it is a real honor to be joining them and their teams in such multi-faceted roles within the two companies.”

Prior to joining UMG, Newton was the President of Columbia Records, a position he held since January, 2010.

Other artists he worked with at the label included David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, George Ezra, Haim, Hozier, John Mayer, London Grammar, MGMT and The Neighbourhood.

Newton came to Columbia from RCA Records, having served as Executive Vice President of A&R from 2003. He helmed the label’s A&R for multi-platinum, platinum and gold artists such as The Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Velvet Revolver and Ray LaMontagne.

Newton began his A&R career at Island Records in London under the mentorship of founder Chris Blackwell.

He went on to become Co-Managing Director of Virgin Records UK, having joined the company as co-owner of venture label Circa Records.

Newton was subsequently appointed Co-President of Virgin Records America and Senior Vice President of A&R of Virgin Music Group Worldwide.

At Virgin, he was credited for signing such acts as The Spice Girls, Massive Attack, N.E.R.D., Everything But The Girl, The Chemical Brothers and Neneh Cherry, in addition to working closely with top artists including Janet Jackson, David Bowie, Gorillaz, Lenny Kravitz, Peter Gabriel, The Verve, D’Angelo, Smashing Pumpkins, Soul II Soul, 30 Seconds to Mars and Daft Punk.Music Business Worldwide

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