Overnight, Billboard.biz broke the news of Zach Horowitz's departure from Universal Music Publishing Group, where he has served with distinction as chairman/CEO. Horowitz had been in his publishing post since April 2012, after spending 12 years as president and COO of Universal Music Group.

Below is Horowitz's email to the group's global staff, obtained by Billboard.biz:

"Dear UMPG Colleagues:

I write to share some news. 

After a wonderful thirty years at Universal Music Group, it's time for me to move on and explore other opportunities.     

Three decades ago I joined what was then MCA Records--ranked last among all the majors--and was fortunate to play a key role in growing it into the #1 music company in the world-- Universal Music Group.  Along the way, I had the privilege of learning from industry giants like Lew Wasserman and Sid Sheinberg, and bosses like Irving Azoff, Myron Roth, Al Teller, Doug Morris, Edgar Bronfman and Lucian Grainge.  It's been a remarkable experience. As the President and Chief Operating Officer of UMG for over 12 years, I worked with so many talented people here to help grow UMG into the most dynamic music company in history. As UMG and the industry morphed and evolved over the years, I was thrust into virtually every area of the modern music business.

Among the highlights of my time at UMG: I negotiated the company's transformational deals to acquire Geffen Records, Interscope Records, and Polygram--where I served as one of four people on UMG's Executive Oversight Team. That Team was responsible for devising and overseeing the global integration of Polygram's recording and publishing assets into Universal--considered one of the most successful mergers in the history of the music business.  I led the charge that took Universal's Latin music business from last place to first place in just two years, including architecting our acquisition of the biggest Latin record companies in the U.S.-Univision, Fonovisa and Disa. This gave us more than a 50% market share in Latin music.  I negotiated groundbreaking deals with artists and digital services. I helped launch Vevo, and was a founding Board member. I also conceived and launched Universal's first record company in Japan, a unique joint venture with Victor Entertainment that brought us their employees and artists -- and made us an instant major in the country.

Throughout my time at UMG, I've always had a special passion for music publishing. I championed the company's purchase of Rondor Music -- then the biggest independent music publishing company in the world. I led the acquisition and integration of BMG Music, which made us the then biggest music publishing company in the world. That is why it was such a special pleasure for me, two years ago, to become the Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group and devote all my attention to running UMPG's global operations in more than 40 countries around the world. I consider that experience to be a true capstone of my career at the company. 

We achieved so much in our two years together. Among the highlights: We brought in the catalogs of such iconic artists as Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Burt Bacharach, Journey's Steve Perry, Rick Rubin, Juan Luis Guerra, Alejandro Sanz, the Grateful Dead and INXS. We signed and/or developed such chart topping artists as Miguel, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons, Disclosure, Bastille, Axwell and Ingrosso from Swedish House Mafia, Gregory Porter, and Germany's Cro. We acquired the historic, 70 year old Criterion Music catalog -- which gave us everything from Charlie Parker's songs to "These Boots are Made for Walking". We bought the BBC catalog featuring music from some of the most recognizable television shows in the United Kingdom. We celebrated record breaking success with Justin Timberlake, Mumford & Sons, Eminem, and, of course, Adele. We renewed our deals with Warner Bros Films, Coldplay, the Clash and Paul Simon. We signed a new deal to represent Dreamworks Animation and the music in all of its productions. We had chart topping success after chart topping success in Nashville with Luke Laird, Troy Verges, Hunter Hayes and Shane McAnally. We signed new deals that brought us such hit songs as "Wake Me Up", "Say Something", "Best Song Ever", the dance sensation "Animal", and "Call Me Maybe" (which Amazon named their biggest selling single of all time). We merged EMI's Christian Music publishing company with our own Brentwood Benson to become the dominant force in the Christian Music genre. We purchased the interests of our partners in Turkey and India so that both companies are now wholly-owned. We launched a host of groundbreaking digital initiatives -- including being the first publishing company to ensure that our songwriters were paid by the largest multichannel networks, and pioneering a digital rights services team which now detects and claims tens of thousands of videos every month on YouTube so that our writers can be paid. I take particular pride in our role as a driving force to change the Consent Decrees that govern ASCAP and BMI so that our songwriters can truly have the opportunity to earn fair and reasonable compensation for their work.

It has been an honor to work at UMPG with each of you. I can't stress enough my gratitude for how rewarding and satisfying you made the experience for me.  Together we made a real difference. I will never forget your work ethic, passion for your job, and concern for your songwriters. 

Whatever my next chapter will be, all of you will forever hold a special place in my heart.