“The time has come for Lucian to step up to the CEO role... I know he is ready, willing and able to attack the challenges of the new decade.”
International Head Grainge Anointed as UMG’s CEO in Waiting by Doug Morris
We’ve been telling you about this since late in the previous decade, and now, finally, it’s official…it’s just not in effect yet.

Vivendi announced today the appointment of Lucian Grainge as Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group. That’s a promotion from his current role as Chairman/CEO of London-based UMG International. He’ll assume his new post on Jan. 1 of 2011, succeeding Doug Morris, who will remain as Chairman. Grainge will relocate to New York as of July 1. During the sixth months between his arrival and officially starting the job, Morris and Grainge will act as co-CEOs. Grainge will report to Vivendi chief Jean-Bernard Levy and become a member of the Vivendi Management Board.

Under Grainge’s leadership during the last five years, UMGI has grown its marketshare worldwide, broken global acts and led the music industry in developing a range of new digital services. With a roster of talent that includes Lady Gaga, U2, Black Eyed Peas, Amy Winehouse, Take That and the Killers, Grainge has enabled UMG to dominate the international music scene. Most recently, the company garnered a 35.7% share of the U.K. music market and a 28.7% share worldwide. Moreover, under his direction, UMG scored a majority of the biggest-selling digital songs worldwide in 2009, with four of the Top 5 and seven of the Top 10 for the year (according to the IFPI).

Grainge is also credited with signing the Rolling Stones away from their longtime home of EMI to a long-term, exclusive deal, making UMG the sole proprietor of the legendary band’s post-ABKCO catalog. In addition to partnering with Disney for Asia, Grainge recently secured a large portion of Disney’s international distribution business from EMI, giving UMG multi-platinum sellers like Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers on a worldwide basis. He also recently embarked on ground-breaking digital partnerships with Nokia, Virgin Media and BSkyB, among many others. Moreover, his bold acquisition of Sanctuary Group has helped to diversify UMG further by providing management and live-events expertise, as well as a lucrative merchandising and artist service division in Bravado.

He started his career with CBS/April Music in 1979, advancing to positions in A&R and talent development, and rising to senior management positions at PolyGram U.K. and Universal Music internationally. Which takes us to the present moment.

“The time has come for Lucian to step up to the CEO role,” said Morris stated. “I am very happy with the new organization as I have been grooming him to succeed me for quite a while now. I know he is ready, willing and able to attack the challenges of the new decade.”

Commenting on the appointment, Levy stated: “I am delighted that Lucian Grainge has agreed to move to New York to take on the Chief Executive role. His track record speaks for itself, finding stars, growing revenues and building new business models. He has the right combination of experience and innovation to take UMG forward as the migration into the digital era accelerates.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Doug Morris for the extraordinary results he has achieved over the years in a very tough environment, Levy added. “After starting out as a songwriter in 1965, Doug has overseen 35 years in the business and taken it from vinyl to Vevo. Lucian will be able to benefit from their period in tandem. I know Doug, as the chairman of UMG, will continue to provide a major contribution to the business and the music industry as a whole.”

Said Grainge: “Stepping into Doug’s shoes is an honour [see how he spells that?] and a privilege. This is a great industry which I believe has as much to look forward to as to be proud of. If we keep getting the basics right of exceptional music and artistry, backed by a great team and sound business sense, then we’ll continue to achieve success.”

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