Universal Music U.K. has confirmed that Island Records executives Darcus Beese and Ted Cockle have been appointed co-presidents of the group.
As reported on Billboard.biz yesterday (April 15), the pair will replace the label’s current president Nick Gatfield. EMI Music today confirmed that Gatfield has joined the company as president of A&R Labels, North America and U.K.
The new Island co-presidents have been closely involved with the label’s most successful artists.
Beese has worked at Island for 15 years, most recently as A&R director, and he signed Amy Winehouse in 2003. He was also behind the reinvention of the U.K. girl group Sugababes.
Ted Cockle joined Island in 2005 as head of marketing and became marketing director a year later. As well as working with the Feeling, Amy Winehouse and Sugababes, he recently steered the award-winning promotional campaign for U.K. pop act Mika.
In their new roles, Beese and Cockle will report to Universal Music U.K. chairman and CEO David Joseph.
“Island is one of the world’s most admired record labels and Ted and Darcus personify the unique vision and passion which has made it so successful,” says Joseph in a statement.
“Darcus signed 2007’s most popular artist in the world, Amy Winehouse, and Ted delivered the campaign which broke the year’s most exciting new talent, Mika. They are the new generation of record executives and both recognise it is original artistry that matters. I know they will be even more successful as the leaders of an amazing record company in an exciting and fast-changing business.”
Gatfield also oversaw the signing and development of Winehouse during his spell as president of Island Records Group since 2001. He was also involved in the careers of Keane, Mika, the Fratellis, McFly, Busted, Sugababes, the Feeling and new artists Robyn and Sam Sparro. He will take over from Roger Ames who will remain at the company in a non-operational capacity.
“A&R has always been at the heart of EMI and its labels and the company has an incredibly strong track record in signing and developing some of the most innovative artists in the world,” says Gatfield in a statement announcing his appointment to EMI Music.
“It is also a company that is leading the most ambitious transformation of the music industry. My goal is to nurture that culture of creativity and change, working in true partnership with the talented artists and A&R people at EMI. In addition I am extremely excited about EMI’s determination to embrace a new way of working with artists that recognises both the importance of the history of the labels but also the importance of new technologies.”
Guy Hands, executive chairman of EMI, adds in the statement: “As well as developing some of today’s most popular artists and music around the world, Nick has also demonstrated his talents for embracing and delivering change.
“At Universal Island he has led a complete turnaround of the label in both creative and financial terms and built it into the most successful domestic repertoire label in the UK. I am delighted that Nick is joining EMI and I believe the combination of Nick Gatfield and Douglas Merrill working together will enable EMI to reposition itself in new music.”
Gatfield worked in L.A. for PolyGram from 1993 to 1998, where he was president of Polydor Records. He was also made responsible for PolyGram’s music publishing operation in the U.S. in 1998. He began his career at EMI Records in the U.K.