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Morris, who will be 71 this month, is expected to remain as Chairman and has reiterated his desire not to step down.
UMG’S MORRIS READY TO CEDE POWER TO GRAINGE
BusinessWeek Reports International Head Lucian Grainge Will Step in as CEO, Morris Remaining Chairman
We first speculated about this earlier in the year, but now it appears to be closer to reality.

Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris is “quietly” making plans to bring in a successor to help run the company, according to a report in Business Week yesterday.

Sometime next year, UMG intends to elevate its international head Lucian Grainge to take over Morris’ CEO slot. Morris, who will be 71 this month, is expected to remain as Chairman and has reiterated his desire not to step down.

The move is being portrayed within the company as a promotion for the 49-year-old Grainge, who is highly regarded by executives at Universal parent Vivendi. Morris just inked a four-year contract extension last year, at which time he was encouraged to come up with a succession plan. The publication reports Morris will continue to work on key projects for the company, but will turn over day-to-day operations to Grainge. Morris will maintain a seat on the Vivendi management board, which includes top execs from the French conglom’s other business units.

Morris helped forge the recent agreement with Google’s YouTube to form the dedicated music video channel VEVO, which is expected to bow before the end of the year, and has been active in the digital area through groundbreaking agreements with iTunes and Microsoft.

He has already signed Sony and several independent labels for VEVO, and is currently in talks with both Warner Music and EMI. The London-based Grainge, who has three school-age children, recently purchased a house in Connecticut and is expected to wait until his kids’ school year ends in June before making the move to New York.

Grainge, who became Universal’ international chairman in 2005, began in the music business as an A&R executive in 1978 for CBS Records, then rose through the ranks as at Polygram before being named Chairman of UMG’s U.K. operation in 2001.

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