After more than eight years spent helping grow Warner Music Group’s (WMG) global footprint, the company’s CEO of international and global commercial services Stu Bergen announced today (Nov. 9) that he will step down at the end of January 2021.
“These last eight years overseeing International have undoubtedly been the highlight of my career,” Bergen wrote in an internal note obtained by Billboard. “It’s been a wild and wonderful journey as we have returned to growth and possibility. You have accomplished so much, and I know you will achieve much more.”
The announcement caps a more than 14-year run at WMG for Bergen, who has worked in the international department since 2012 (when he was named executive vp, international and head of global marketing) and was promoted to his current role in 2016.
Tasked with spearheading WMG’s international expansion — at a time when the music business had been in decline for more than a decade — he helped build domestic and global careers for Warner artists like Anitta and David Guetta; led strategic label acquisitions in fast-growing markets such as China’s Gold Typhoon and the Netherlands’ Spinnin’ Records; opened affiliates in around 20 countries; and steered WMG’s $180 million purchase of European direct-to-fan retailer EMP Merchandising in 2018.
“What I will miss is working alongside you — traveling the world, learning about the music scene in every country, and sharing a passion for music with the world’s greatest superfans,” Bergen wrote. He promised a “smooth and seamless transition, before starting a new chapter of exciting professional, personal, and philanthropic pursuits.”
WMG CEO of recorded music Max Lousada praised Bergen’s contributions in a separate internal note obtained by Billboard, writing that he will announce a leadership transition “in due course.”
“During his 14 years at WMG, Stu’s been an influential member of our global leadership team, a devoted supporter of our artists, and a passionate champion of our team,” Lousada wrote. “A versatile exec, known for his frankness and integrity, he’s just as comfortable in the boardroom advocating for an acquisition as he is flying halfway around the world to meet backstage with an artist. … Ever since, he’s been an ambitious catalyst for change, helping us build a truly global platform for growth.”