Record Labels

Alejandro Duque to Be Warner Music Latin America's New President

Alejandro Duque
Courtesy Photo

Alejandro Duque

The major label veteran joins Warner Music after 15 years at Universal Music. He succeeds Iñigo Zabala

Alejandro Duque has officially been named as the next President of Warner Music Latin America, Billboard has learned.

Warner’s formal appointment came after Universal Music Latin announced on June 18 that Duque would be leaving the company. Duque will join Warner in August and start his new post beginning in October. He succeeds Iñigo Zabala, who earlier this year announced he was stepping down from his role as Warner’s President of Latin America and Iberia after working for Warner Music for more than 30 years. Zabala’s last day as president will be the end of September, after which he’ll continue in his new role as independent consultant.

Duque joins Warner Music after 15 years at Universal Music, most recently as Managing Director of Universal Music Latino, Machete and Capitol Latin, where he’s been instrumental in the success of young stars like Karol G and Sebastian Yatra. He will be based in Miami and report to Simon Robson, president, International, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group.

In his new role, Duque will oversee all Warner’s operations in the U.S. Latin market and in Latin America, including Brazil. He will not oversee Warner Music Iberia, where Guillermo Gonzalez, president of Warner Music Iberia, will continue in that role, reporting directly to Robson after Zabala steps down.

"I’m looking forward to welcoming Alejandro to Warner Music,” said Robson in a statement. "He has extensive experience working around the region and has helped drive our industry’s digital transformation. Alejandro also has a fantastic reputation as an innovative leader who always puts his artists’ needs first. He’ll help us continue to grow our reputation as the most artist-friendly record company in the region, building long-term careers for our talent and adding significant value beyond just the streaming market."

Duque’s appointment has been rumored ever since Zabala unexpectedly announced in April that he would be leaving Warner. At that point, sources confirmed Zabala’s replacement would not be internal, and several names, including Duque’s, were surfaced as possible replacements.

With his confirmation, Duque at 38 years old becomes the youngest president of a Latin multinational.

Born and raised in Colombia, Duque got early music chops from his father, a music executive, and later got a BA in music business & management from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Duque’s entire label career was at Universal beginning in Colombia in 2005 as a digital and new media manager. Since then, he scaled the ranks, moving to Argentina in 2009 as Director of Sales and Business Development. He was promoted to VP of Digital & Business Development in 2012, moving to Miami. Then in 2016, he became Managing Director of Universal Music Latin, overseeing operations for UMG’s U.S. Latin labels, including Universal Music Latin, Capitol Latin and Machete Music.

Now Duque’s role will be pan-regional, focusing not only on the U.S. Latin market but also on the wealth of artists coming via Latin America. Warner’s current Latin roster includes rock icons Maná, Brazilian superstar Anitta and Puerto Rican rising urban star Myke Towers.

“I’m so excited to be joining Warner Music and have the opportunity to continue its success story,” said Duque in a statement. “The incredible music coming out of Latin America continues to seize the imaginations of fans around the world. I want to do more to support talent from our region and help our artists claim their rightful place on the global stage.”

Duque will be taking over the role of Iñigo Zabala, a musician turned executive who’s spent 30 years at Warner, and who signed some of the company’s most iconic acts, including Alejandro Sanz and Miguel Bosé.

"[Iñigo] is an incredible exec who has made a huge impact both on our company and the wider Latam music business, and he’s signed and developed some of the biggest and most important Latin artists of all time. I’m delighted that he’ll continue to work very closely with us," said Robson.

Zabala added: “I started working with Warner when I was an artist, and it’s helping amazing artists that’s motivated my whole career. I’ve had many fantastic years at the company, but now is the right time for me to follow my own path while still supporting the artists I love.”