Edgar Bronfman, Jr. and Stephen Cooper are switching roles with the former becoming the Warner Music Group chairman and the latter assuming the CEO position and responsible for the company's day-to-day operations.
In a memo to employees, Bronfman wrote that "after leading the acquisition from Time Warner, transforming the company, and selling it to Access, I believe I can add greater value by addressing the challenges WMG faces on a macro scale, while handing over the day-to-day reins to Steve."
In discussions with the Access team, Bronfman said he conveyed "my strong conviction that my energies on behalf of the company would best be directed toward transformative transactions and long-term strategy."
As part of the change, Lyor Cohen, chairman and CEO, of Recorded Music and Cameron Strang, chairman and CEO of Warner/Chappell Music, will now report directly to Cooper.
In addition to his role with WMG, Cooper is a member of the supervisory board for LyondellBasell Industries N.V., a chemicals and refining company; is managing partner of Cooper Investment Partners, a private equity firm; and is an advisor at Zolfo Cooper, a financial advisory and interim management firm he co-founded. In the past he has served as chairman or chief executive officer of various businesses, including vice chairman of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. and CEO of Hawaiian Telcom. Cooper received a B.A. from Occidental College and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
In a press release on the change, Bronfman said, "With the Access Industries transaction closed and WMG well-positioned for its next exciting chapter, it was clear that in order to best seize the strategic opportunities before us, we needed to deploy our team in the most effective and imaginative manner possible."
In other WMG news, Thomas H. Lee Capital LLC chairman and CEO Thomas H.Lee has been elected as a new director to the WMG board. He had been a WMG director previously from March 2004 through July 2011. With the appointment of Lee, the size of WMG's Board has increased from nine to 10 members.