Lucian Grainge: Reshuffled UMG will help us adapt

Universal Music Group CEO and Chairman Lucian Grainge believes the newly-announced changes at the top of the major will allow it to be more nimble – and to break global artists faster, out of any territory.

In an email to staff sent yesterday (October 29) and obtained by MBW, Grainge said that the changes to Universal’s Executive Management Board, and the addition of Michael Nash as EVP of Digital Strategy, represented “a bold new approach to a business that is both singularly global and regionally nuanced”.

As reported elsewhere, Nash joins after advising Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper on the company’s own digital strategy.

Read Grainge’s email below:

Dear Colleagues:

As you’ve heard me say many times before, we can only be successful if our artists are.  Our commitment to our artists must always be foremost in our mind.

To foster that, today we’re announcing the reorganization of our international division into regionally focused hubs in order to accelerate our ability to break artists on a global basis.  By empowering regional teams to rapidly deploy greater resources towards developing artists, we can more effectively bring artists to market regardless of where they are based or to what UMG label they are signed.

As part of this effort, we’ve formed an Executive Management Board comprised of key leaders from across UMG’s multiple business units and territories.  The new board and structure will strengthen our ability to operate across 60 countries more nimbly, and, since business models are changing at an ever-increasing rate, enable us to adapt to any given model in a particular region quickly and effectively.

In the global music business there is never a “one-size-fits-all” model: consumer behavior differs region-by-region, country-by-country and even city-by-city.  This structure represents a bold new approach to managing a business that is at once both singularly global and regionally nuanced.  It will enable us to anticipate and then adapt to the rapid changes in how music is created, distributed and ultimately experienced by flattening our organizational structure and replacing it with one that is truly global and directly reflects how the market has evolved.

As part of this, we are bolstering our digital strategy team and making a series of staff promotions, including:

  • I’m pleased to announce that we’ve brought Michael Nash on board to lead our digital strategy.  Along with his longstanding relationships with our digital and platform partners, Michael brings the perfect balance of creativity and expertise to help us supercharge our efforts to find new monetization opportunities for our artists while navigating the constantly evolving technological landscape.  You can read more about Michael in the press release below.
  • Michele Anthony will add to her current responsibilities oversight of our Canadian operations led by Universal Music Canada president and CEO Jeffrey Remedios as well as our U.S. catalog division led by Universal Music Enterprises president and CEO Bruce Resnikoff.
  • Jeff Harleston will now lead our Business & Legal Affairs worldwide.  Jeff has long been a key member of our team and one who has been on the frontlines in negotiating some of our most important artist, label and platform agreements in North America.  As part of this critical initiative, I’ve asked Jeff to expand his portfolio to span all of our worldwide operations going forward.
  • Andrew Kronfeld will be relocating to our Santa Monica headquarters from London, and will manage the interaction and coordination of artist repertoire across the new regional hub structure.  Andrew has a proven track record for helping us break artists worldwide, and now with our new structure, his role in bringing local artists to global success will be even more important.
  • Boyd Muir, in addition to his role as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will oversee Bravado, our global merchandising company led by Tom Bennett, and Eagle Rock, our UK-based producer and distributor of music programming led by Terry Shand.

The press release below also details for you the full roster of the new Executive Management Board and Regional Hub leadership.  I’d like each of you to review it carefully.

All of this, of course, is part and parcel of our ongoing work to continuously enhance UMG’s ability to operate with more agility across all of our geographies, and to do so in a manner that helps to drive growth and achieve the greatest possible success for our amazing artists.

Please join me in congratulating this team and welcoming Michael Nash.

LucianMusic Business Worldwide

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