Mat Vlasic, CEO of Universal Music Group’s in-house merchandise arm Bravado, resigned abruptly on Thursday (Oct. 22), Billboard has learned. According to a source, a meeting was called with short notice at 3 p.m. EST to deliver the news to staff.
A UMG spokesperson confirmed the news with Billboard, sharing this statement via email: “Mat Vlasic informed the company that he is stepping down from his role as CEO of Bravado, our global merchandising division. John Habbouch, Bravado’s General Manager and CFO, will assume interim leadership until a successor CEO is named.”
Vlasic has run Bravado since 2016, joining the company from Sony Music Entertainment, where he founded and oversaw the company’s global consumer products and artist merchandise division. Bravado handles most of UMG’s major acts, including Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Eminem, and in 2019 revenue grew 79% to reach reached 489 million euros ($578 million at current conversion rates).
This year the company has not, however, faired as well amid the pandemic. According to UMG’s third quarter earnings report, which was released Tuesday, Merch sales fell nearly in half from July to September compared to the same time last year. For the year to date, from January to September, revenue had dropped 42.3%.
John Habbouch has been Bravado’s CFO since 2016 and in 2019 was also appointed general manager.