Warner Music Central Europe boss Bernd Dopp steps down after 37 years

Warner Music Central Europe / Yvonne Schmedemann
Bernd Dopp

Bernd Dopp, the long-running Chairman and CEO of Warner Music Central Europe, is leaving Warner Music Group (WMG) after 37 years with the major.

Dopp will be passing on the leadership of Germany-headquartered Warner Music Central Europe to two Co-Presidents: Doreen Schimk, Managing Director, Media & Brands, and Fabian Drebes, Managing Director, International. The duo will take over from Dopp on October 1.

Warner Music will be the first major label in Germany to be headed by a dual leadership.

Dopp becomes the second veteran leader of a Warner Music record company in Europe to exit WMG in the past 12 months, after ex-Warner Music France boss Thierry Chassagne retired in October last year.

WMG confirmed that Dopp’s exit takes place amid Warner Music Central Europe’s best ever year in terms of financial results.

Max Lousada, CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group and Simon Robson, President, International, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group said in a joint statement: “Bernd is an incredible music man, who is known for his passionate advocacy on behalf of our artists. But, just as importantly, he’s also created a welcoming, warm culture at Warner Music Central Europe that’s impressed everyone who’s experienced it.

“Doreen Schimk, Fabian Drebes and his entire team have just helped Bernd deliver the most successful year in the history of the company. That’s an incredible reflection on all three of them and means we’re making this transition from a position of strength.”

Doreen Schimk and Fabian Drebes added: “Working with Bernd Dopp has been about learning from excellence. He’s our most influential mentor.

“He continuously pushed us and himself forward with enthusiasm, empathy, and experience. As a true leader and music icon, he leaves behind a great and valuable legacy in the music industry and deserves our biggest respect. Thank you for being an inspiration.”

“As a true leader and music icon, Bernd leaves behind a great and valuable legacy in the music industry and deserves our biggest respect. Thank you for being an inspiration.”

Doreen Schimk and Fabian Drebes, the new leaders of Warner Music Central Europe

Bernd Dopp is the longest serving member of the BVMI (German IFPI) board. He will continue to be involved with WMG beyond October, acting as a senior consultant.

Dopp said: “My mission is accomplished and now it’s time for a change of generation. It was an honor and a privilege to experience this incredible journey with Warner Music. Now I am proud to hand over the responsibility for the company to Doreen Schimk and Fabian Drebes.

“They’re both highly respected in the artist community, as well as in the local and international music business. They’re truly among the most excellent music executives in Europe and I have absolute confidence in both to lead the company into an even more successful future. I wish them all the best, lots of success and a great deal of pleasure!

“Of course, I would like to thank my entire team and all the artists I have had the privilege to work with and for. I had a great time!”

Germany was the world’s fourth largest recorded music market in 2020, according to IFPI data.

The country’s recorded music market generated over $1 billion in the first half of 2021 on a retail basis, according to BVMI stats, up 12.4% year-on-year.

Artists who achieved notable success in Germany with Dopp’s support included Neil Young, Lou Reed, Tracy Chapman, Phil Collins, Madonna, Prince, Enya, Udo Lindenberg, Beatsteaks, Seeed, Linkin Park, Peter Fox, Janelle Monáe, Bruno Mars, Robin Schulz, Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and many others.Music Business Worldwide