UMG Promotes Will Tanous to Chief Administrative Officer

Will Tanous
Austin Hargrave

Will Tanous

Universal Music Group head of communications Will Tanous, already a member of the company's executive management board, has been promoted to chief administrative officer.

In his new role, Tanous will assume more responsibility for corporate strategy and new initiatives, plus continue to serve as a member of the board and oversee communications, investor relations, public policy, and Universal's various social responsibility programs.

In the announcement, released today (Feb. 2), UMG chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge praised Tanous as "one of the most strategic, multi-talented executives in the music business today." He said that the new role "acknowledges what has been firmly in place for some time: his wide-ranging role in the day-to day executive management of our global organization, as well as his contributions to our long-term growth strategy."

Tanous, who will continue to report to Grainge, said in the announcement that, "Sir Lucian's consistent and artist-centered vision combined with his innovative and entrepreneurial approach have revolutionized the music industry and propelled UMG to an extraordinary level of artistic and commercial success.”

Tanous, who joined Universal in 2013 as executive vice president of communications, previously worked at Warner Music for more than two decades, eventually rising to evp of communications & marketing. During his time at Warner -- which started during the compact disc boom and ended at the low point of the recorded music business -- Tanous acquired a reputation as a strategic thinker who understood how corporate communications could help drive investor relations and public policy, as well as help a major label tell a story not only about itself but about its role in the overall music and entertainment business.

While at Warner, he hired James Steven and Amanda Collins, who are now, respectively, Warner Music Group's evp and chief communications officer, and Sony Music Entertainment's evp global head and corporate communications.

During his time at Warner, Tanous also co-created and executive produced Reverb, a weekly HBO music series that featured artists like Pavement, Archers of Loaf, Moby, and the Flaming Lips. The show, which is fondly remembered by alternative rock fans, also helped launch the career of comedian Fred Armisen.

Tanous in 2019 received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which is given to U.S. citizens "who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life."