Chairman/CEO of Recorded Music
Warner Music Group
The Iceman Cometh...
It's definitely a new day at Warner Music Group and not just because Access Industries' Len Blavatnik (see No. 8) has acquired the company and installed Stephen Cooper as CEO. With the departure of WMG chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. and the promotion of Cohen to head of WMG's worldwide recorded-music operations, Cohen is personally responsible for WMG's 18.7% share of all recorded music in the United States, and of course its share in the rest of the world. Look for Cohen's sometimes brutal, win-at-all-costs approach to become even more pervasive at the company. Bronfman guided WMG with a steady hand and could act as a buffer to other insiders when Cohen was in take-no-prisoners mode. But Cohen is the right man to lead the company in the trenches: If Universal Music Group's planned acquisition of EMI Music gets regulatory approval, WMG will be the smallest major by a wide margin, a dubious distinction that could hurt the company in the marketplace when it looks to sign new talent. As Cohen moves forward, look for him to align WMG more closely with the realities of the digital marketplace-where pop and hip-hop are dominating an industry that's becoming more dependent on single-track downloads.
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