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Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper will leave the media company next year.
In an SEC filing on Wednesday, WMG, home to the likes of Cardi B. and Bruno Mars said it “has begun planning for the succession” of Cooper, who will continue to serve as CEO until his replacement is found and appointed.
Cooper, who is also a boardroom director, has served as CEO of WMG since 2011 when he was hired by chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. A turnaround expert, Cooper previously served as vice chairman and member of the office of CEO at MGM and before that had been involved in high-profile business overhaul efforts, including those at then scandal-ridden energy giant Enron and KrispyKreme Donuts.
Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, WMG, which also has top artists like Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa in its stable, posted record digital music revenues secured from social media and streaming platforms like Spotify and TikTok.
Emerging music artists increasingly break out on social media platforms like TikTok before being signed by the major music labels like WMG, while other platforms like Facebook and Instagram are increasingly using music as content, offering additional revenues.
Cooper’s full note to staff on Wednesday is below:
I wanted you to hear it from me first: I’ve informed Len 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 eleven 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, Guy, Carianne, 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.
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