Tunji Balogun named Def Jam Recordings Chairman and CEO

Tunji Balogun has joined Def Jam Recordings as its Chairman and CEO.

The role will take effect on January 1, 2022.

Balogun will be based in Los Angeles and report to UMG Chairman & CEO, Sir Lucian Grainge.

A successful creative executive, Balogun has worked with artists including Bryson Tiller, Childish Gambino, Goldlink, Khalid and Wizkid over his 17-year career.

Balogun comes to Def Jam from RCA Records, where he has served as Executive Vice President of A&R since 2018.

His appointment marks a return to UMG for Balogun, where he served as an A&R executive at Interscope Records from 2007 to 2015.

Jeffrey Harleston, UMG’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs, has served as Def Jam’s interim Chairman & CEO since 2020 after the departure of Paul Rosenberg.

Harleston will continue to oversee the label until Balogun assumes his new role.

“Tunji is part of a new wave of dynamic executives.”

Sir Lucian Grainge

Sir Lucian Grainge, said: “Tunji is part of a new wave of dynamic executives who view today’s artists and music through a unique creative lens.

“Not only does he bring a deep understanding and respect for the cultural significance of what Def Jam has created over the past four decades, but he also sees the boundless potential of what Def Jam can be to a new generation of artists and fans.”

“I grew up on Def Jam’s music.”

Tunji Balogun

Tunji Balogun, said: “I grew up on Def Jam’s music – collecting, listening to and studying their albums and singles – those early moments as a young fan have had a lasting influence on who I am today.

“Def Jam remains one of music’s most iconic brands and has always represented forward-thinking artists and partners that continue to shift ideas and impact culture around the world.

“I’m honored to lead Def Jam into its next chapter and thank Lucian and Jeff for their support and this incredible opportunity.”

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead and grow Def Jam over these past two years.”

Jeffrey Harleston

Jeffrey Harleston, added: “It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead and grow Def Jam over these past two years.

“Having had the privilege of working with Tunji for more than a decade, I couldn’t be happier to hand the reins over to him.

“Tunji has all the tools to take the Def Jam brand and artists to new levels of success.

“He has the vision. He has a track record of signing the best and brightest new talent who ‘move culture’ around the world and has always been an incredible advocate for artists.”Music Business Worldwide

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