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GRAINGE ACTS ON HIS GLOBAL VISION (UPDATE)

Lucian Grainge has repeatedly pointed out that the music biz is now, more than ever before, global in scale, and and he’s acted on this assertion.

The UMG chieftain has “announced the formation of an Executive Management Board [comprising] key leaders from across UMG’s multiple business units and territories, and the reorganization of its international division into regionally focused hubs. The new board and structure will strengthen the company’s ability to operate its business across 60 countries more nimbly, and position UMG for continued growth as the most commercially successful and creatively diverse music-based media and entertainment company in the world.”

Got that? There’s more—much more—and Grainge sent out a memo to staff in an effort to bring context to this sweeping initiative, as well as explaining his motives.

“As you’ve heard me say many times before, we can only be successful if our artists are,” Grainge began. “Our commitment to our artists must always be foremost in our mind.

“To foster that, today we’re announcing the reorganization of our international division into regionally focused hubs in order to accelerate our ability to break artists on a global basis. By empowering regional teams to rapidly deploy greater resources towards developing artists, we can more effectively bring artists to market regardless of where they are based or to what UMG label they are signed.

“As part of this effort, we’ve formed an Executive Management Board comprised of key leaders from across UMG’s multiple business units and territories. The new board and structure will strengthen our ability to operate across 60 countries more nimbly, and, since business models are changing at an ever-increasing rate, enable us to adapt to any given model in a particular region quickly and effectively.

“In the global music business there is never a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model: consumer behavior differs region-by-region, country-by-country and even city-by-city. This structure represents a bold new approach to managing a business that is at once both singularly global and regionally nuanced. It will enable us to anticipate and then adapt to the rapid changes in how music is created, distributed and ultimately experienced by flattening our organizational structure and replacing it with one that is truly global and directly reflects how the market has evolved.

“As part of this, we are bolstering our digital strategy team and making a series of staff promotions,” he explained, before hitting the key points of the press release. 

“Under the new structure," the release states, "UMG will accelerate its ability to break artists on a global basis, by empowering its regional teams to rapidly deploy greater resources towards developing artists, regardless of the county in which the artist is based or to what UMG label they are signed,” the announcement states. “The U.S. label groups, which function as distinct operating units reporting directly to Grainge, will now have the ability to leverage the strength of the new regional hub structure outside the U.S. to more effectively market and develop their artists on a global scale. Further, the new structure will accelerate the company’s ability to increase its presence in emerging markets, including Africa, India and China, by utilizing focused teams to build local repertoire, broaden digital partnerships and work alongside other Vivendi companies to strengthen strategic relationships with platforms and brands.

The new structure has occasioned the following executive moves. Andrew Kronfeld has been upped to EVP Marketing for the mothership. EVP Michele Anthony will oversee the Company’s Canadian operations led by Jeffrey Remedios and U.S. catalog division UMe led by Bruce Resnikoff. EVP/CFO Boyd Muir will oversee merch division Bravado led by Tom Bennett and U.K.-based distribution company Eagle Rock led by Terry Shand. And the responsibilities of Jeff Harleston, General Counsel and EVP of Business & Legal Affairs for North America, have been increased to encompass  UMG’s worldwide operations.

Grainge also announced the appointment of Michael Nash (pictured at right), one of the industry’s most experienced and respected digital media executives, as EVP Digital Strategy, to oversee UMG’s digital business development activities around the world. Nash will serve as a member of the Executive Management Board and work closely with all UMG’s operating units, providing a critical link between digital strategy and operational execution.

“Universal Music is one of the world’s most powerful sources of creative and commercial opportunities for artists, labels, digital music and video services and platforms,” Grainge stated. “Our continuing strength rests in our capacity to anticipate and then adapt to the rapid changes in how music is created, distributed and ultimately experienced in an environment that is at once both singularly global and regionally nuanced. As technology and business models continue to evolve, we must do the same.”

“The new executive management board and structure will enable us to drive change throughout the organization, meet the individual market’s unique needs and serve as the most effective partner to artists in what is more than ever a truly global business. Most importantly, this new structure will be able to accelerate the careers of our artists, by providing them with focused teams that are entrepreneurial and innovative and have the ability to seamlessly tap into the resources of the entire company. This management team represents the best the music industry has to offer—a combination of deep creative, commercial, regional and industry expertise.

“I also want to welcome Michael Nash to Universal Music and to the executive management board. Along with his longstanding relationships with our digital and platform partners, Michael brings the perfect balance of creativity and expertise to help further enhance our strategy for growth.”

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