Music publishing veteran Les Bider is stepping down from his position as Warner/Chappell Music chairman/CEO, Warner Music Group announced Feb. 17.

NEW YORK -- Music publishing veteran Les Bider is stepping down from his position as Warner/Chappell Music chairman/CEO, Warner Music Group announced Feb. 17.

Bider's decision to not extend his contract, which expires at the end of the year, was a deeply personal one, sources say. He plans to work with his successor -- not yet named -- during a transition period.

Bider has helmed WMG's publishing division since its formation in 1987 after the merger of Warner Bros. Music with Chappell Music.

WMG chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., whom Bider calls a "class act," said in a statement that Bider turned a $30-million-per-year operation into a half-billion-dollar business while he oversaw the publisher's worldwide operations.

Warner/Chappell controls publishing for more than 1 million copyrights, including the songs of Cole Porter, the Gershwins and a roster of such artists as Madonna, Dr. Dre and Sheryl Crow.

Bider joined Warner Bros. Music as CFO in 1981 after running his own accounting firm for nearly six years, representing an extensive range of entertainment industry clientele.

Attorney Ira Selsky of Dreier LLP in New York has known Bider since his CPA days. "Les really knows how to choose creative people and let them make their own decisions," Selsky says. "He's a master at structuring deals and making songwriters—veterans and newcomers—feel creative within a business environment."

In addition to signing a significant deal with Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Bider engineered the acquisition of Chappell Music and others.

Other executives with Warner/Chappell are president Rick Shoemaker and executive VP/GM Jay Morgenstern.

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