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NEW WARNER MUSIC GROUP STRUCTURE REVEALED

As Promised, Bronfman Moves Quickly
According to internal memos and a company press release, New Warner Music Group Chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. has begun to deliver on his promise of swift, decisive change at the company he now owns and runs in conjunction with partners Thomas H. Lee, Bain Capital and Providence Equity.

Speed is key, Bronfman writes, so that the group “can begin to move ahead with increased strength and confidence as a more competitive, agile and efficient organization.” The moves, he says, are “based on a careful and thorough analysis of all aspects of WMG's needs and operations, undertaken in close collaboration with the Company's senior management over the past few months.”

The release confirms that Elektra’s Sylvia Rhone and Atlantic’s Val Azzoli and Ron Shapiro have been informed that they are not part of the new structure, as reported yesterday.

Further, staff cuts have begun today and will continue until a 20% reduction in WMG’s global workforce reduction is achieved. Bronfman says most of these cuts will be undertaken by the end of this month.

The new WMG management is also continuing discussions with former Chairman/CEO Roger Ames about a “senior management role” at the company.

As for the new structure, those reporting directly to Bronfman include newly appointed Chairman/CEO of U.S. Recorded Music Lyor Cohen, as well as former President of Warner Music International Paul-Rene Albertini, now Chairman/CEO of that division, as well as Warner/Chappell Chairman/CEO Les Bider.

Corporate staff reporting to Bronfman will include CFO Helen Murphy, Executive VP/General Counsel Dave Johnson and new Head of Corporate Communications Will Tanous, who will take the reins from the departing Dawn Bridges (see Rumor Mill).

Reporting to Cohen will be Warner Bros. Records Chairman/CEO Tom Whalley, Warner Strategic Marketing President Scott Pascucci and WEA Corp. President John Esposito.

On the East Coast, divisions of Elektra and Atlantic, including Business and Legal Affairs, Finance and Label Sales, will be merged immediately. With the departure of Rhone and Azzoli, Cohen will run both labels in the interim as Chairman. A permanent East Coast management structure has yet to be determined.

Bronfman and company say today’s announcement encompasses the bulk of the changes they intend to make. However, the new owners are “still working on a number of additional steps,” including the aforementioned East Coast structure.

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