Universal Music Group Announces New Exec Management Board, Reshapes Int'l Structure

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group Lucian Grainge, CBE attends the premiere of "Amy" at ArcLight Cinemas on June 25, 2015 in Hollywood, California. 

Universal Music Group has unveiled a new executive management board and a reshaped international structure which has been redefined into regionally focused hubs to better leverage the group's resources and know-how.

UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge announced the new board and structure today, the aim of which is to “strengthen the company’s ability to operate its business across 60 countries more nimbly,” and to position the music giant for “continued growth as the most commercially successful and creatively diverse music-based media and entertainment company in the world,” according to a statement.

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The news follows the surprise announcement last week that Max Hole was stepping down from his role as chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group International due to illness. 

Under this new structure, UMG says it will empower its regional teams to deploy greater resources towards developing artists, regardless of the country in which the artist is based or to which UMG label they’re signed. The changes have been put in place to help accelerate the group’s ability to break artists across borders.

Going forward, the U.S. label groups will now have the ability to leverage the new regional hub structure outside the U.S. to more effectively market and develop its artists globally, the company explains. The new structure will also tap into the company’s activities in emerging markets, including Africa, India and China, to better build local repertoire, broaden digital partnerships and work alongside other Vivendi companies.

As part of the shakeup, Andrew Kronfeld rises to executive VP, marketing for UMG and will be based at the group's Santa Monica headquarters. Kronfeld, who works directly with UMG’s labels in managing the interaction and coordination of artist repertoire across the new regional hub structure, previously served as president of global marketing for UMG’s international division in London.   

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Meanwhile, Michele Anthony, executive VP of UMG, will add responsibilities for oversight of UMG’s Canadian operations (led by Universal Music Canada president Jeffrey Remedios) as well as its U.S. catalog division (led by Universal Music Enterprises president and CEO Bruce Resnikoff).

Boyd Muir, in addition to his role as UMG’s executive VP and CFO, will oversee UMG’s global merchandising company Bravado (led by Tom Bennett and Eagle Rock, the U.K.-based producer and distributor of music programming led by Terry Shand).

Also, Jeffrey Harleston’s duties -- which previously included serving as general counsel and executive VP of business & legal affairs for North America -- have been expanded to include UMG’s worldwide operations.

Grainge anticipates his changes will facilitate growth and foster a creative advantage for the company. “Universal Music is one of the world’s most powerful sources of creative and commercial opportunities for artists, labels, digital music and video services and platforms,” notes Grainge in a statement. “Our continuing strength rests in our capacity to anticipate and then adapt to the rapid changes in how music is created, distributed and ultimately experienced in an environment that is at once both singularly global and regionally nuanced.  As technology and business models continue to evolve, we must do the same.”

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He adds, “The new executive management board and structure will enable us to drive change throughout the organization, meet the individual market’s unique needs and serve as the most effective partner to artists in what is more than ever a truly global business.  Most importantly, this new structure will be able to accelerate the careers of our artists, by providing them with focused teams that are entrepreneurial and innovative and have the ability to seamlessly tap into the resources of the entire company.  This management team represents the best the music industry has to offer -- a combination of deep creative, commercial, regional and industry expertise.”
And with effect from Nov. 2, Michael Nash becomes executive VP, digital strategy, overseeing UMG’s digital business development activities around the globe. Nash reports to Grainge and will serve as a member of the executive management board and work closely with UMG's operating units providing a link between digital strategy and operational execution.

The members of the UMG executive management noard, chaired by Grainge:

Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President, UMG
Frank Briegmann, President & CEO, Central Europe & Deutsche Grammophon
Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group
Jeffrey Harleston, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs, UMG
David Joseph, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK & Ireland
Andrew Kronfeld, Executive Vice President, Marketing, UMG
Boyd Muir, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, UMG
Michael Nash, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy, UMG
Pascal Nègre, CEO of Universal Music France and President of Italy, Middle East and Africa
Will Tanous, Executive Vice President, Communications, UMG

Regional Hub Leadership overview:

Frank Briegmann, President & CEO, Central Europe & Deutsche Grammophon
David Joseph, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK & Ireland
Pascal Nègre, CEO of Universal Music France and President of Italy, Middle East and Africa

Asia Pacific
George Ash, President, Universal Music Asia Pacific
Naoshi Fujikura, President & CEO, Universal Music Japan

Latin America
Jesus Lopez, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula