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COOPER PLANS TO DEPART WMG IN '23

Warner Music Group CEO Steve Cooper will leave the company in 2023 and has instructed the board of directors to start searching for his replacement. His email to the troops appears below.

A turnaround specialist with no industry experience when he was hired in 2011, Cooper, 75, guided WMG into the streaming era, led its early adoption of new technologies and took it public in 2020. WMG’s global recorded-music marketshare increased by nearly 11% during his tenure.

“I’m now six decades into my career, and of everything I’ve done, this is the job I’ve enjoyed the most,” Cooper wrote, noting that he's the longest-running CEO in WMG’s history. We did not realize that.

Here’s Cooper's complete email.

Hi everyone,

I wanted you to hear it from me first: I’ve informed Len [Blavatnik] and our board of directors that we should begin the search for my successor. The process of finding a new CEO will take time, and we’ll be looking at candidates both internally and externally. We expect the transition to happen by the end of 2023.

When I arrived here in the summer of 2011, a lot of people figured I’d only be here a year or two. But 11 years later, I’m now six decades into my career, and of everything I’ve done, this is the job I’ve enjoyed the most. I’m proud to say that I’m the longest-running CEO in WMG’s history. This is a wonderful company, and I’m excited to help select my successor.

In the meantime, if anyone asks you about this news, you can simply say it’s business as usual. We’re expanding our investment in artists and songwriters. We’re evolving our company culture and developing our dynamic, diverse team. We’re dramatically growing our global footprint and making transformational acquisitions. We’re building on our reputation as the fastest-moving, most forward-thinking major. We’re just at the beginning of a new golden age of music, and WMG is beautifully positioned for continued growth and innovation, with new opportunities emerging every day.

I know Max [Lousada], Guy [Moot], Carianne [Marshall] and the entire senior management all agree—what matters most is the music. So please, let’s keep up the great work. The main reason I’ve stayed here as long as I have is because of all of you—the brilliant people of WMG. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this amazing team. 

Onward, forward and upward,
Steve

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