Warner/Chappell UK boss Richard Manners is leaving the major publisher after 17 years, MBW can reveal.
The experienced exec has driven success at the company with big hitters such as Radiohead, The Strokes, Muse, Paolo Nutini, Elbow and Damien Rice, plus breakthrough talent such as Tom Odell, Royal Blood, London Grammar, Ed Drewett, Michael Kiwanuka and Ben Howard.
MBW understands that the exit of Manners comes two months after his A&R Director, Mike Sault, also departed from Warner/Chappell – leaving behind two well regarded young UK A&R execs in Amber Davis and Tom Overbury.
Last year, Manners found himself with a new boss when LA-based Jon Platt was named Warner/Chappell CEO.
Highly respected US exec Platt first arrived at Warner/Chappell in 2012, after which the company signed the likes of JAY Z, Beyoncé, Roc Nation’s publishing roster and Pharrell Williams’s pre-2010 repertoire.
In an internal note sent to staff earlier today and obtained by MBW, Platt called Manners “one of the most accomplished executives in our business”.
Platt explained that Manners had decided to leave following private discussions about the future direction of the UK company, and that Warner/Chappell would announce a successor “shortly”.
In the interim, Platt will personally oversee Warner/Chappell UK and will lead its creative division.
The rest of the UK business’s management team will remain unchanged, including Mike Lavin (finance), Stephen Clark (administration), Pascale Khalaf (sync & licensing) and Jo Smith (legal & business affairs).
“With over 30 years in music publishing… Richard is one of the most accomplished executives in our business.”
Jon Platt, Warner/Chappell
“With over 30 years in music publishing, 17 of them with Warner/Chappell, Richard is one of the most accomplished executives in our business,” said Platt, who praised the “tremendous contributions” Manners had made to Warner Chappell.
“Please join me in wishing him all the best in his future endeavors,” added Platt. “[Richard] leaves with our utmost respect and gratitude.”
Platt made sure to explicitly state that the exit of Manners did not represent a lessening of focus on the UK as a repertoire hub for Warner/Chappell.
“Now more than ever, the UK is a fertile and dynamic breeding ground for great music, and home to many of the most popular and culturally significant songwriters in the world. We can all look forward to building on Warner/Chappell’s achievements and taking our songwriters to new heights,” he said.
Platt has already rung the changes in Warner/Chappell’s US operation, appointing Katie Vinten and Ryan Press as co-heads of A&R, as well as Paul Kahn as CFO and Chuck Gamble as VP, Catalog promotions.
Richard Manners first made his name in the mid-1980s as an A&R at Chris Blackwell’s Blue Mountain Music, where he signed the likes of James, Frazier Chorus, Joe le Taxi, and had his first number one with M/A/R/R/S’ Pump Up The Volume.
He was made Managing Director in 1988 and then moved to Island Music with the same title in 1990.
At Island, he was responsible for the signings of Pulp, Massive Attack, The Beautiful South, Tricky and the Cranberries.
In 1994, Polygram Music and Island Music merged, and Manners was named MD of the combined company.
He oversaw a run of success with writer/artists such as The Lighthouse Family, Ash, Stereophonics, Suede, Spice Girls, East 17 and Bjork, before moving on to Warner/Chappell in 1999.
Under Manners, Warner/Chappell UK has represented the catalogues of major league songwriters such as John Lydon, George Michael, Morrissey and Roger Waters.Music Business Worldwide