The U.K. music biz said goodbye to Universal Music Group kingpin Lucian Grainge last night (June 16) at a star-studded "bon voyage" party in London.
Executives and artists gathered at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in West London to see off Grainge -- widely regarded as the most powerful music executive outside of the United States -- ahead of his move to New York to become Universal Music Group CEO.
Enrique Iglesias, Scissor Sisters and Jamie Cullum all played live, the latter dedicating a version of Sting's "Englishman in New York" to the departing executive. Bob Geldof, who has known Grainge since he was 11, gave a valedictory and occasionally ribald speech, praising Grainge as "the sharpest brain in the music industry," for "empowering the people who work for him" and for "rolling out the company" to assist with the 2005 Live 8 concerts.
The evening was hosted by Kimberley Walsh of U.K. girl group Girls Aloud and Ronan Keating of Irish boyband Boyzone, with Keating quipping: "Lucian was my A&R man on the first Boyzone album and now look at him -- the most powerful man in the music industry!"
In response to the tributes, Grainge said: "Tonight's not a goodbye, it's about saying 'hello.' 'Hello' to our new future together, 'hello' to everything we can do with our friends in America and all the opportunities this new relationship will bring."
"This adventure's not over for any of us," he concluded.
Among those spotted in the audience during the evening were Roger Daltrey of the Who, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, Amy Winehouse, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Duffy, La Roux, Stereophonics, Johnny Borrell of Razorlight, Sharleen Spiteri of Texas, Sugababes, Will Young, Pixie Lott, Gabriella Cilmi and many of Universal's more recent signings.
Music executives and other notables attending included 19 Entertainment founder Simon Fuller, 2012 Olympics chief Sebastian Coe, film director and food critic Michael Winner, former business secretary Peter Mandelson, "The X Factor" judge Louis Walsh, HMV Group CEO Simon Fox, Universal U.K. chairman/CEO David Joseph and Grainge's successor at the helm of UMGI, Max Hole.
Grainge takes up his role as CEO of Universal Music Group July 1, initially in tandem with Doug Morris, before taking sole control on January 1, 2011. Morris will remain as chairman. Grainge has served as chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group International since 2005.