Ben Kline and Cris Lacy have been promoted to Co-Presidents of Warner Music Nashville, taking the leadership reins from Chairman/CEO John Esposito, who will make the transition to Chairman Emeritus next year.

Kline, currently EVP & General Manager, joined the label in 2014 as VP of Revenue, becoming SVP of Global Revenue & Touring in 2017. He was upped to EVP/General Manager—overseeing radio & streaming, artist development, touring and international—in 2019. Lacy, who started in publishing, joined Warner Nashville in 2005, was elevated to SVP of A&R in 2017 and achieved her current position of EVP of A&R two years later.

“Under Espo’s brilliant guidance over the past 13 years, our Nashville team has built superstar careers, attracted original new voices, innovated in the digital world and championed the creative community,” said Max Lousada, CEO, Warner Recorded Music. “I’ve no doubt Cris and Ben will grow our artist-first philosophy with ingenuity, skill and style. In the streaming era, country music is increasingly becoming global music, and Ben and Cris make a dynamic duo to lead our pioneering Nashville label into the future. And I’m pleased we’ll continue to have the benefit of Espo’s sage advice and wide-ranging industry relationships.”

Warner Music Nashville was established in 2009 under Esposito’s direction. Its artists have spent more than 107 weeks at #1, earning 74 chart-topping singles and more than 300 gold and platinum RIAA certifications.

“It’s been truly inspiring to watch Cris and Ben grow into their new roles,” Espo said. “They’re two of the most innovative, passionate and devoted music people in the Nashville community, tirelessly dedicated to helping artists achieve their visions and supporting them at every stage of their careers. Between Ben’s business acumen and Cris’ fantastic A&R instincts, they’ll be a world-class duo leading the best team in the business, driven by a love of the music and the belief in authentic artistry. My last 20 years at WMG have been the most rewarding of my career, filled with incredible people and experiences, and it’s been deeply gratifying to be embraced so warmly by the Nashville community.”

Esposito will remain in his current position through the end of the year before finding out how cold Nantucket is in January.