Universal Music Chief Lucian Grainge 'at Home and Recuperating' After Coronavirus Hospitalization

Sir Lucian Grainge
Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Billboard

Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group Sir Lucian Grainge accepts the Executive of the Decade Award onstage at the 2020 Billboard Power List Event at NeueHouse Hollywood on Jan. 23, 2020 in Los Angeles.

In a memo to UMG staff on Monday, Grainge gave an update on his ‘severe’ battle with COVID-19.

Universal Music Group CEO and chairman Lucian Grainge is at home and recuperating after being hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, more than two weeks ago. Grainge sent a letter to UMG staff on Monday (April 6), updating them to his condition, saying his health is expected to make a full recovery.

Grainge, 60, tested positive for coronavirus and was hospitalized on March 15 at Los Angeles’ UCLA Medical Center, where he received treatment for over two weeks.

In the memo, Grainge says that he was one of the 20% of COVID-19 patients for whom symptoms are severe. “Take it from someone who’s been there: this thing is not just some bad flu,” Grainge wrote. “It's as serious as it gets. As serious for the young and strong as it is for the old and infirm. Wherever you are in the world, take this pandemic as seriously as it deserves to be taken.”

UMG’s Santa Monica, California, headquarters closed March 20, the Friday after Grainge tested positive for the virus. Most staff members were already working remotely at the time. 

Grainge has been working with the company for 35 years, since 1986 when he launched Polygram Music Publishing UK. After he was named CEO in 2011, he closed a landmark deal for the company by acquiring EMI’s recorded music division for $1.9 billion that made UMG the largest music company in the world.

Read Grainge's letter to staff in full below.

Dear Colleagues:

I do hope each and every one of you and your loved ones is safe and doing as well as can be in these difficult times.

I apologize for not having written earlier, but I know only too well how difficult these times can be, for you see, I contracted COVID-19 and was one of the 20% whose symptoms were severe.  

Today, I am at home and recuperating.  Thanks to those on the front line of this crisis—the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers whose dedication and skill brought me back to health—I am on my way to a full recovery. 

I will never be able to thank them enough.  And the first responders and all the other essential workers putting their lives on the line out there for all of us—they are heroes, justly entitled to our deepest respect and gratitude.  

Take it from someone who’s been there: this thing is not just some bad flu.  It's as serious as it gets. As serious for the young and strong as it is for the old and infirm.  Wherever you are in the world, take this pandemic as seriously as it deserves to be taken.  Listen to and obey the guidance of your public health authorities. 

You will be doing it not merely for yourself, but for your families and—as we all know by now—for literally everyone in the world.   Let me close by thanking you as well.  Without exaggeration, you are the greatest team the music world has ever brought together.  Your amazing work—from home nonetheless!—during these past weeks only goes to prove it. 

I’m so proud of how your support for our artists and songwriters has not faltered, remaining as creative and devoted as it’s ever been, even as you’ve found the energy and time to lend helping hands to our COVID-19 response effort. 

You are remarkable.  Please take good care.  If you need some special help the company might be able to provide, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Human Resources representative.  

Remember: one day this will all be behind us.  And I hope that day comes soon, because, honestly, I can’t wait until we’re all back in the office together.  In the meantime, I’ll see you on Zoom.   

Stay safe,
Lucian 

Coronavirus

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