Universal Music Group (UMG)’s global boss of merchandising, Tom Bennett, is leaving the business.
Bennett (pictured inset) has been Chief Executive Officer of Bravado for eight years, being promoted to the role in May 2008.
He rejoined Bravado as CEO in North America in March 2004, and signed merch agreements for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Adele, Bob Marley, Justin Bieber, Guns N’ Roses, Kayne West, The Weeknd, Lady Gaga and the Ramones.
He is the third high-profile UMG exec to depart in the past month, following Universal Music France boss Pascal Negre and UMG D2C global boss Russel Coultart.
According to Universal parent Vivendi’s financials, UMG’s ‘merchandising and other’ category accrued €276m in 2015, up 3.5% at constant currency on 2014.
Bennett will continue to work closely with UMG in his new venture, serving as a consultant to the major.
Mat Vlasic is succeeding Bennett as Bravado CEO.
“I have decided it is the perfect time to get back to my entrepreneurial roots and work on projects where I can be fully creatively and commercially immersed.”
Vlasic joins Bravado from Sony Music, where he led the company’s Merchandising Division and signed merchandising agreements with artists including A$AP Rocky, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Johnny Cash, Lamb of God and The Strokes, among many others.
Boyd Muir, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Universal Music Group and to whom Bravado reports, said, “Tom has done an outstanding job building Bravado into the most successful merchandising company in the industry.
“On behalf of everyone here, I thank him for all of his many contributions and we look forward to working with him in his new endeavor.
“I’m thrilled that we have identified a uniquely qualified successor in Mat Vlasic who brings to Bravado a passion for working with artists and helping them realize their vision for extending their brands through a variety of fan-driven products.”
Bennett said, “I depart today proud of all that we accomplished at Bravado, thankful to our incredible team and everyone at UMG, wistful to depart after so many years here, and of course beyond excited to launch this new business.
“I have decided it is the perfect time to get back to my entrepreneurial roots and work on projects where I can be fully immersed in both the creative and commercial aspect of the business and be able to work in a much more hands on way with a great group of artists.
“I’m pleased that I’ll also continue working with the team at Bravado in a consultant position so we can be sure to take care of the many great artists we work for.”
“Building on bravado’s great legacy, we will distinguish ourselves with our artist-first mentality.”
Mat Vlasic, Bravado
“Building on Bravado’s great legacy, we will distinguish ourselves with our artist-first mentality, top notch products and by being at the forefront of technology and innovation,” said Vlasic.
“I look forward to bringing an integrated approach to working with Bravado’s incredible artist roster, one that’s not just about transactions, but that focuses on an artist’s long term goals, and how to best connect them with their fans 365 days a year through products and experiences.”
“I’m thankful to Tom, Boyd, Michele Anthony and the entire UMG management team for this incredible opportunity.”
Prior to joining Bravado, Vlasic worked at Sony Music since 2003, where he held positions in finance and marketing before founding their in-house Consumer Products and Licensing Division. At Sony, he successfully signed an array of artists including A$AP Rocky, Bob Dylan, Fifth Harmony, Johnny Cash, The 1975 and The Strokes.
Before Sony, Vlasic was an agent at the music agency MVO Ltd., worked in interactive marketing at AOL and started his career in corporate development at <kpe>, a media and entertainment venture investment company.Music Business Worldwide