Universal has a new global digital boss: WMG veteran Michael Nash

Universal Music Group has a new leader of its worldwide digital strategy.

Michael Nash, who has been acting as an adviser to the top tier of UMG rival Warner since June, joins Universal as EVP of Digital Strategy from November 2.

His appointment comes eight months after Universal controversially parted ways with its President of Global Digital Business, British exec Rob Wells.

Labeled a “visionary” by The Atlantic, Michael Nash served as a permanent executive at WMG from 2000-2011, rising to the role of Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy and Business Development where he oversaw WMG’s worldwide new media projects, strategic relationships and business development activities.

Before joining WMG, Nash was the Executive Director of the Madison Project, dubbed ‘the music industry’s first digital distribution trial’.

From 1994 to 1997, Nash was founding CEO of Inscape, an interactive entertainment and games publishing joint venture between WMG and HBO that produced titles with artists such as William S. Burroughs, DEVO, Thomas Dolby and The Residents.

“As technology and business models continue to evolve, we must do the same.”

Lucian Grainge, UMG

Prior to that, Nash served as Director of The Criterion Collection, working closely with directors and artists such as Robert Altman, David Bowie, Terry Gilliam and Louis Malle.

Nash will report directly to CEO and Chairman Lucian Grainge at UMG and serve as a member of the major’s Executive Management Board.

He is tasked with ‘providing a critical link between digital strategy and operational execution’.

Grainge said, “Universal Music is one of the world’s most powerful sources of creative and commercial opportunities for artists, labels, digital music and video services and platforms.

“Our continuing strength rests in our capacity to anticipate and then adapt to the rapid changes in how music is created, distributed and ultimately experienced in an environment that is at once both singularly global and regionally nuanced.

“As technology and business models continue to evolve, we must do the same.”

He added: “I also want to welcome Michael Nash to Universal Music and to the executive management board.

“Along with his longstanding relationships with our digital and platform partners, Michael brings the perfect balance of creativity and expertise to help further enhance our strategy for growth.”


Nash’s appointment onto Universal’s Executive Management Board comes amid a reshuffle around the firm’s top table – largely thanks to a reorganization of its international division into regionally-focused hubs.

Universal’s U.S. label groups, which function as distinct operating units reporting directly to Grainge, will now be able to ‘leverage these regional hub structure outside the U.S. to more effectively market and develop their artists on a global scale’, according to UMG.

As part of this initiative, Andrew Kronfeld has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Marketing for UMG and will be based at the Company’s Santa Monica headquarters.

Previously, Kronfeld served as president of global marketing for UMG’s international division in London.

In this new role, Kronfeld will work directly with UMG’s labels in managing the interaction and coordination of artist repertoire across the new regional hub structure, insuring that artists are receiving the ideal marketing and creative development resources to grow their careers.

Other changes:

  • Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President of UMG, will add to her current responsibilities oversight of the Company’s Canadian operations led by Universal Music Canada president and CEO Jeffrey Remedios as well as the Company’s U.S. catalog division led by Universal Music Enterprises president and CEO Bruce Resnikoff;
  • Boyd Muir, in addition to his role as UMG’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will oversee Bravado, UMG’s global merchandising company led by Tom Bennett and Eagle Rock, the UK-based producer and distributor of music programming led by Terry Shand.
  • In addition, Jeffrey Harleston’s role, which previously included serving as General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for North America, has been expanded to include UMG’s worldwide operations.

Commented Lucian Grainge: “The new executive management board and structure will enable us to drive change throughout the organization, meet the individual market’s unique needs and serve as the most effective partner to artists in what is more than ever a truly global business.

“Most importantly, this new structure will be able to accelerate the careers of our artists, by providing them with focused teams that are entrepreneurial and innovative and have the ability to seamlessly tap into the resources of the entire company.

“This management team represents the best the music industry has to offer—a combination of deep creative, commercial, regional and industry expertise.”

Membership of UMG’s Executive Management Board and Regional Hub Leadership

The members of the Executive Management Board, chaired by Grainge, are (in alphabetical order):

  • Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President, UMG
  • Frank Briegmann, President & CEO, Central Europe & Deutsche Grammophon
  • Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group
  • Jeffrey Harleston, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs, UMG
  • David Joseph, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK & Ireland
  • Andrew Kronfeld, Executive Vice President, Marketing, UMG
  • Boyd Muir, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, UMG
  • Michael Nash, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy, UMG
  • Pascal Nègre, CEO of Universal Music France and President of Italy, Middle East and Africa
  • Will Tanous, Executive Vice President, Communications, UMG
Regional Hub Leadership overview:

Europe

  • Frank Briegmann, President & CEO, Central Europe & Deutsche Grammophon
  • David Joseph, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK & Ireland
  • Pascal Nègre, CEO of Universal Music France and President of Italy, Middle East and Africa

Asia Pacific

  • George Ash, President, Universal Music Asia Pacific
  • Naoshi Fujikura, President & CEO, Universal Music Japan

Latin America

  • Jesus Lopez, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula

Music Business Worldwide

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