Veteran Universal Music executive Ferdy Unger-Hamilton has been hired to fill the vacant role as managing director of Virgin Records U.K., with effect from Jan. 13. He succeeds the former Virgin U.K. MD Phillipe Ascoli, who last year returned to his native France to establish a joint venture with EMI.
Unger-Hamilton joins from Island Records, where he was A&R executive. His colleague Stephen Bass, A&R manager at Island, is also understood to be linking-up with EMI in an as-yet unannounced role.
Speaking of the new recruit, Capitol Music/Virgin Records U.K. president Keith Wozencroft says, “he brings a wealth of experience, creativity and knowledge to his new role and I know that together with the Virgin U.K. team, we can build on the label’s strengths and continue to develop a fantastic roster.”
Unger-Hamilton’s career began at Andy MacDonald’s London-based music firm Go Discs, where he established the dance-oriented subsidiary label Go Beat, whose roster included Portishead, and Gabrielle. PolyGram U.K. (now part of Universal) completed the acquisition of Go Beat/Go Discs in 1996, having bought a 49% stake in 1987.
During his tenure at Island, Unger-Hamilton is credited with signing British pop band Keane, whose debut 2004 album “Hopes and Fears” has shifted more than four million units worldwide.
In an unrelated move, Parlophone A&R head Dan Keeling exited the company at the end of December. Sources say Keeling is moving to a position within Universal Music.