Cindy Mabe Named Chairman/CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville
The move becomes official one day after current chairman/CEO Mike Dungan retires.
One day after Universal Music Group Nashville (UMGN) announced chairman/CEO Mike Dungan’s retirement in March, the company has officially named the label’s current president, Cindy Mabe, as his successor, effective April 1.
Mabe was named president of UMGN in 2014. With her ascension, she becomes the first woman to serve as chairman/CEO of a Nashville-based major-label group.
“We’re thrilled to have Cindy step into this role,” said Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge in a statement. “She is a transformational executive, who has a distinguished track record of designing and implementing innovative strategies to help build artists’ careers and bring their music to fans around the world. Cindy’s credibility in the artist community and her deep experience will help us deliver countless additional artists’ successes going forward.”
Mabe joined UMGN in 2012 as senior vp of marketing, leading marketing initiatives across Capitol Records Nashville, EMI Records Nashville, MCA Nashville and Mercury Nashville — UMG’s expanded suite of country labels following its acquisition of EMI. Prior to that, Mabe spent five years at Capitol Records Nashville as senior vp of marketing.
Mabe said in a statement, “For the past 15 years, Mike Dungan has been my mentor and partner. He has built one of the most enduring and impactful legacies in country music history. He’s also been my friend. I’m grateful for the chance he took on me and so very proud of what we have built together over those 15 years with our staff and the most enviable roster in music.
“To now be in a position, as Mike’s successor, to advance the musical and cultural impact of Universal Music Group Nashville into the future is truly a humbling honor. Country music has been my life’s passion. It’s my childhood and my future. It’s the heartbeat that speaks truth to all walks of life in the best and worst of times. It’s truly a gift to get to honor, protect and build the next era of country music history with UMGN … I want to thank Sir Lucian Grainge for his belief in me, his brilliant leadership and for building this incredible culture that puts artists and music first.”
Mabe is known as a fierce advocate for artists. As Keith Urban said of Mabe when she was named Billboard’s Country Power Players executive of the year in 2019: “Cindy is the quiet oracle. She has her antenna tuned in to things I often can’t see at the time, but she proves time and time again to be spot on.”
In addition to Urban, UMGN is home to such artists as George Strait, Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, Jon Pardi and Dierks Bentley. UMGN finished 2022 at No. 1 on Billboard‘s year-end Top Country Labels chart.
A North Carolina native, Mabe attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated from Belmont University in Nashville with a B.S. in business administration. She began her music career as promotions coordinator at RCA Nashville, before shifting to sales and then artist marketing and development, during which time she worked with artists including Clint Black, Martina McBride and Alabama. She later served as senior director of marketing and artist development at Arista Records Nashville from 1999-2007, working with the likes of Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Underwood, Brooks & Dunn and Diamond Rio before joining Capitol Records Nashville in 2007.