Warner/Chappell Begins Contacting Candidates to Replace Outgoing Head Jon Platt

Lester Cohen
Warner/Chappell Music chairman/CEO Jon Platt at the City of Hope 2018 fundraising kick-off

Platt is expected to replace his former boss, Martin Bandier, at Sony/ATV Music Publishing as chairman and CEO.

Little more than a week after Warner/Chappell chairman/CEO Jon Platt announced his departure, the search for a replacement is underway with a number of executives already informally contacted, according to multiple sources. 

Platt announced his exit from the Los Angeles-based publishing company Sept. 14, with Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper confirming in a memo that Platt will leave before year’s end. Platt is expected to replace his former boss, Martin Bandier, at Sony/ATV Music Publishing as chairman and CEO, although Sony/ATV reps will not comment. Bandier confirmed on Sept. 17 that he will step down when his contract ends March 31, 2019. His successor will report to Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.

Within Warner/Chappell, sources say COO Carianne Marshall -- with whom Platt is closely working on the transition as he exits -- is under consideration. Marshall is well liked and respected and is said to  have already made an impact, despite only being at Warner/Chappell since June, joining the company following SONGS’ December sale to Kobalt Capital’s fund. Marshall was previously partner and head of creative services at SONGS. 

It is believed that Platt was grooming Marshall to eventually succeed him, but that was seen as a move further down the road, as she grew into the job. Platt, who had been at Warner/Chappell since 2012, had about two years remaining on his contract.

Externally, there are also a number of strong candidates, including a pair of Sony/ATV high level executives, should they decide not to stay after Platt arrives. London-based Guy Moot, Sony/ATV president of worldwide creative, and New York-based Brian Monaco, Sony/ATV president, global chief marketing office, were both being groomed as Bandier’s potential successors.

The plan, according to multiple sources, was that Bandier would extend his contract at least one more year, while Moot and Monaco prepared to take over after his departure, possibly with one serving as CEO and the other serving as COO/president, though titles and exact roles were still fluid. That plan was severed when Bandier received the call from Sony’s Tokyo headquarters on Sept. 13 that Platt was coming in as chairman/CEO.

Among the other names sources say could be under consideration is Evan Lamberg, Universal Music Publishing Group’s president of North America, though sources say he is happy where he is and not looking to make a move. Same with Pulse Music President Maria Egan. Kobalt Music Group President and Chief Revenue Officer Laurent Hubert, as well as Zach Katz, who replaced Hubert as BMG’s president/marketing and creative, have also been suggested as potential contenders. 

Additionally Global Music Rights CEO and partner Randy Grimmett was mentioned for his ability to start a company from the ground up, while others suggested former SONGS founder and CEO Matt Pincus could be interested in returning to the publishing ranks. In June, he joined LionTree, the investment bank that advised on the SONGS/Kobalt sale, as executive in residence. 

Whoever replaces Platt will be taking over a publishing company that is strong. Warner/Chappell has consistently commanded at least a 17 percent market share for the Top 100 radio songs  the last three years, including claiming the No. 1 spot among all publishers in Q3 2017. In Q2 2018, it saw a slight dip to 15.65 percent share.

A spokesperson for Warner Music Group declined to comment.

Assistance in preparing this story provided by Ed Christman and Hannah Karp.