Warner Music Group today (March 2) confirmed a restructuring of its operations that will encompass the elimination of 20% of its global workforce of 5,300 and the exit of several key recorded music ex
Warner Music Group today (March 2) confirmed a restructuring of its operations that will encompass the elimination of 20% of its global workforce of 5,300 and the exit of several key recorded music executives ahead of an anticipated merger of its East Coast labels.
Edgar Bronfman Jr., who led the $2.6 billion purchase of the music company from Time Warner, will serve as chairman/CEO of WMG. Reporting directly to Bronfman are Lyor Cohen, chairman/CEO of U.S. Recorded Music; Paul-Rene Albertini, chairman/CEO Warner Music International (WMI); and Leslie Bider, chairman/CEO of Warner/Chappell Music. Albertini was previously president of WMI.
WMG confirms prior Billboard reports  that it is in discussions with Roger Ames, who has been chairman of WMG, about a senior management role at the company.
All corporate staff also will report to Bronfman. Helen Murphy will remain as CFO, while Dave Johnson stays on as executive VP and general counsel. Will Tanous will now oversee corporate communications. He takes over for former corporate communications chief Dawn Bridges, who is exiting the company.
On the recorded music side, many of the top executives at the Elektra Entertainment Group and the Atlantic Group labels are out. WMG is merging select business divisions of the two label groups, specifically the legal and business affairs, finance and label sales units. Michael Kushner will oversee legal and business affairs, with Sam Schwam heading up finance and Rick Froio in charge of sales. The promotion, marketing and A&R divisions of the two labels will stay separate for now.
As expected, Sylvia Rhone, chairman/CEO of Elektra Entertainment Group; Val Azzoli, co-chairman/co-CEO of the Atlantic Group; and Ron Shapiro, co-president of Atlantic Records, are all leaving the company.
Directly reporting to Cohen are Tom Whalley, chairman/CEO of Warner Bros. Records; Scott Pascucci, president of Warner Strategic Marketing; and John Esposito, president of WEA Corp. Also, Cohen will serve as interim chairman of both the Atlantic and Elektra labels.
Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun will remain with WMG in an as-yet-unspecified role. Unnamed in the announcement, but also expected to take key roles in the company are Jason Flom, president of WMG's Lava Records, and Craig Kallman, co-president of Atlantic Records. All Atlantic department heads are now reporting to Kallman, while sources say that Greg Thompson, executive VP/GM of Elektra, will continue in that role.
Billboard has learned that other executives on their way out as part of the restructuring include George Zamora, president of Warner Music Latino; John Boulos, senior VP of promotion at Warner Bros. Records; and Craig Applequist, senior VP of sales and marketing at WEA.
In related news, Harry Fox, Warner Music Latin's senior VP of sales and marketing, resigned from the company a week ago.