Mike Smith, the respected MD of Warner Chappell Music in the UK, has stepped down from the role, MBW has discovered.
In a statement, London-based Smith noted he was leaving the company for “family reasons”.
Smith joined Warner Chappell as UK boss in 2016, hired by the publisher’s then-worldwide Chairman and CEO, Jon Platt.
Since April last year, Warner Chappell has been led jointly by Guy Moot (co-Chair & CEO) and Carianne Marshall (co-Chair & COO), following Platt’s move to run Sony/ATV.
In a statement, Moot and Marshall told MBW today: “Mike’s decided to leave the company for family reasons. He’s been an integral part of the Warner Chappell story over the last few years and we’re grateful for everything he’s achieved.
“We’re sorry to see him leave and we wish him all the very best for the future. We’re really proud of everything our team and our songwriters are achieving and will be sharing exciting news about our new UK leadership in due course.”
Mike Smith commented: “My time at Warner Chappell has been hugely rewarding and I want to thank all of my colleagues around the world, and the amazing songwriting talent I’ve had the privilege to work with for their love and support. These past few years have been a very special time for the company, culminating with four of our artists – Celeste, Dave, Foals and Stormzy – picking up awards at this year’s BRITs.”
He added: “As I leave the company for family reasons, I know that things are in good hands under the guidance of Guy and Carianne, and I wish them and everyone at the company the very best moving forward. We’re currently enjoying an amazingly creative period in our industry, and I look forward to my next challenge, which I hope will be in the not too distant future.”
Prior to joining Warner Chappell, Smith held senior roles in the UK at EMI Music Publishing, Columbia Records, Mercury Records, and Virgin EMI, amongst others.
Smith won the Sir George Martin Award at the UK-based A&R Awards in 2016, at which his long-term friend Damon Albarn said: “I would trust Mike with my life. He’s a rare, rare gem in this world.”
Today’s news comes as Warner Chappell continues to build global momentum under Marshall and Moot, recently inking deals with songwriters such as Lizzo, Frank Ocean and Tones and I, while making key personnel changes such as hiring Shani Gonzales as Head of International and recruiting Ashley Winton to lead creative services.
The company also recently launched the ARROW A&R tool. Initially developed by Warner Chappell Nashville, the internal platform enables Chappell execs to search and share unreleased songs internally, as well as pitching songs for commercial use.Music Business Worldwide