Tencent Music Shakes Up Leadership With New CEO

Tencent Music Entertainment
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Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on June 12, 2018 in Paris, France. 

Chinese music and entertainment giant Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) announced a slate of leadership changes today (April 15), including promoting Ross Liang to CEO and installing outgoing chief Cussion Pang as executive chairman of TME's board.

Liang formerly served as vice president of Tencent Holdings Limited, where he oversaw the company's owned online music and social platforms including QQ and Qzone; and prior to that, general manager of QQ Music. In his new role, Liang will oversee QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music, WeSing and long-form audio businesses.

Pang is replacing Dowson Tong, who is resigning from all his roles at the company including chairman of the board, chairman of compensation committee and all his roles as a director or an officer. Stepping in to lead the compensation committee will be James Gordon Mitchell, the company said.

All of these changes are effective immediately.

"Ross' proven track record in building successful online entertainment platforms and social ecosystems, combined with his breadth of experience delivering strong results through successful expansion into new business areas, makes him ideally suited to accelerate our evolution into an all-in-one online music and audio entertainment destination in China," said Pang, who has been TME’s CEO since mid-2016 and a member of the board since 2014.

Added Liang: "I believe TME's dedication towards driving a sustainable industry development, outstanding product and technology offerings, and innovative business models, combined with the most talented group of people in the industry, uniquely position the Company to capitalize on the exciting opportunities within online music and audio entertainment."

TME, which rose revenues 14.6% to $4.5 billion in 2020, has been growing its footprint in the Western music industry. Last month, the company announced a new joint record label with Warner Music Group alongside a new licensing agreement, following similar deals with Universal Music Group in August 2020 and Sony Music Group in 2018.

Some of these agreements have also led to equity relationships. In January, a Tencent-led consortium increased its total stake in Universal Music Group from 10% to 20%. Tencent (the parent of TME) is also a 10% shareholder in Warner Music Group and owns 9.1% of Spotify.