Edgar Bronfman Jr. to Step Down as Warner Music Chairman at End of January

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Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries acquired the music firm earlier this year, said he is only becoming "more optimistic" about the company's outlook.

NEW YORK - Edgar Bronfman Jr. will step down from his chairman role at Warner Music Group early next year, he told staff in an email memo on Monday.

"I wanted to let you know that, as my other obligations are beginning to take an inordinate amount of time, I have asked to step down as WMG’s board chairman, effective Jan. 31, 2012," Bronfman wrote. "However, I will remain a director of the company and in that way, continue my association with Warner Music and its extraordinary people."

Bronfman switched from the CEO to the chairman role earlier this year as WMG picked turnaround specialist and former MGM vice chairman Stephen Cooper as CEO.

"It has been a unique and special privilege and honor for me to have worked alongside you," Bronfman wrote.
He also lauded WMG's staff for a "willingness to embrace new ideas, and the constant energy you dedicated to transforming this company, year-after-year."

Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries acquired WMG earlier this year, in a separate memo said: "The more I get to know the many employees of this company and see the quality of your work, the more optimistic I am about the future and the things we can accomplish together."

Blavatnik failed to pull off an acquisition of EMI Group's recorded music business.

Addressing Bronfman's upcoming departure from the chairman role, he said: "His leadership, counsel and guidance have been - and will remain - invaluable."
He also shared this about his experience with Bronfman: "When I joined WMG’s board in 2004, I watched Edgar take a neglected division of Time Warner and turn it into a paradigm of how a traditional media company could redefine itself for the digital age with a culture celebrating innovation and collaboration.
It was his vision in transforming WMG into a progressive, modern music company that made WMG so attractive to Access."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai