Warner Music Group said Wednesday that it has begun planning for the succession of chief executive Stephen Cooper and expects to announce a new CEO by the end of 2023.
Cooper, 75, who has held the post since 2011, will continue to serve as CEO and director until his replacement is appointed. WMG’ board will look inside and outside the company. Internally. Max Lousada, WMG’s CEO of recorded music, is considered the most likely candidate.
The exec led WMG through its IPO in June of 2020. He has driven the transformation of the company in the streaming age and overseen global expansion, digital diversification, and M&A including acquisitions of Parlophone Label Group, Gold Typhoon, Spinnin’, Africori and 300 Entertainment. He established film and TV division, Warner Music Entertainment and helped grow a network of direct-to-consumer services including EMP, HipHopDX, IMGN, Songkick and UPROXX.
Cooper is a turnaround expert who has held positions in a number of industries. He was previously vice chair and member of the office of the CEO at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; chief executive of Hawaiian Telcom, executive chairman of Blue Bird Corp.; executive chairman of Collins & Aikman Corporation; CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts; CEP and chief restructuring officer of Enron Corp.; and chairman of the restructuring committee of LyondellBasell Industries.
WMG is controlled by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.
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