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Warner Music Appoints Janelle Curtis as Chief Enterprise Transformation Officer

The Bank of America veteran is taking over from Gary Smerdon, who is retiring next month after 30 years at the label.

Janelle Curtis, a veteran of the banking industry, has joined Warner Music Group as its new chief enterprise transformation officer. As CETO, Curtis will zero in on “business structures, processes, and digital solutions” to assist in what the label describes as its “tech-enabled evolution.”

Curtis most recently held the title of managing director, global head of process automation, within global operations at Bank of America. Prior to BoA, she spent seven years at Goldman Sachs and before that held various posts at Citi, Chase and HB Curtis & Associates.


While Curtis is the first WMG exec to carry the CETO title, it actually replaces the position currently held by Gary Smerdon, evp, business transformation, who is retiring in February after almost 30 years at the company.

“We began our search for Janelle last year, after Gary Smerdon informed me of his decision to retire,” WMG CEO Steve Cooper wrote in an internal note to staff. “When Gary leaves in February, he’ll take with him our deepest gratitude and respect for 30 years of outstanding service to our company, people, and artists… His good-spirited, pragmatic, solutions-focused approach will be greatly missed.”

Curtis is based in New York City and reports directly to Cooper, who in an official announcement touted her “fresh perspective and technical expertise” as reason she’ll be a “tremendous catalyst for growth as we create our future and lead our industry.”

Cooper said that “as a company that thrives at the intersection of pioneering creativity and disruptive technology, we need a unified approach to our innovation and execution on a global scale. It’s also important we constantly evolve our use of emerging and best-in-class platforms to supercharge our support of our artists, songwriters, and teams, as well as our consumers and partners.”

In a statement, Curtis noted that the “explosion in digital business models and data insights makes it essential for us to find the right balance between agile global strategy and sophisticated localized delivery” and touted the label group’s “ambitious plans for using transformational technologies to serve artistry, music, and commerce.”