Universal Music Group International chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge has elevated the managing directors of its three front-line U.K. labels to become presidents. Separately, the company’s Island Universal Records division has been split into separate functioning labels.
With immediate effect, Polydor U.K.’s co-managing directors David Joseph and Colin Barlow, Mercury’s Jason Iley and Island Universal’s Nick Gatfield rise to the role as president of their respective labels.
Grainge says the appointments were made both to acknowledge the performance of each company, and to allow greater flexibility on label development going forward.
“All of these executives are leaders within the British music industry,” comments Grainge in a statement. “Individually they have been responsible for great success in developing new music and this change allows each label to develop further as a stand-alone, full-service record company within the individual culture of Universal Music U.K.”
On July 1, 2005, Grainge took over the reins of UMGI from Jorgen Larsen, overseeing the major’s global operations. For the previous four years, Grainge had been running Universal Music U.K., a company he joined 20 years earlier and one which he turned into a repertoire powerhouse with the likes of Jamie Cullum, Scissor Sisters and Razorlight on its roster.
Meanwhile, Gatfield has instigated a realignment which sees his division split into separate Island and Universal labels. Going forward, the distinct labels will each have their own dedicated A&R, marketing and promotion teams.
As part of the move, former Parlophone A&R head Dan Keeling has joined the Island label as managing director, reporting to Gatfield. During his tenure at Parlophone, Keeling signed Coldplay and Athlete, among others. Billboard.biz reported earlier this week that Keeling was taking up a position within Universal Music.
A managing director role is not expected to be created for the Universal label, although a general manager may be appointed, a spokesperson says.
Jon Turner, former marketing director of Island Universal, will head marketing for Island, reporting to Keeling.
Ted Cockle, head of marketing at Island Universal, takes the same title for the Universal label. Cockle reports to Gatfield.
Gatfield says the aim of the restructuring is to foster distinct personalities and cultures for each of the labels which, in turn, will enhance their creative strengths. “These highly focused teams will have the creativity and flexibility to respond and adapt quickly to the continuously evolving marketplace,” he says.
The combined Island Universal roster features domestic signings Keane and Sugababes, among others.