Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper will leave the media company next year.
In an SEC filing on Wednesday, WMG, home to Cardi B. and Bruno Mars, said it “has begun succession planning” for Cooper, who will continue as CEO until his replacement is found and appointed.
Cooper, who is also a director of the board, has been CEO of WMG since 2011, when he was hired by Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. A turnaround expert, Cooper previously served as vice chairman and a member of the CEO’s office. of MGM and before that he had been involved in high-profile corporate overhaul efforts, including those at then-scandal-ridden energy giant Enron and KrispyKreme Donuts.
Amid the global pandemic, WMG, which also has top artists like Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa in its stable, has recorded record digital music revenues secured from social media and streaming platforms like Spotify and Tik Tok.
Up-and-coming music artists are increasingly breaking out on social media platforms like TikTok before being signed to major music labels like WMG, while other platforms like Facebook and Instagram are increasingly using music as content, providing additional revenue.
Cooper’s full memo to staff on Wednesday is below:
I wanted you to hear it first from me: I informed Len and our board that we should begin the search for my successor. The search process for a new CEO will take time and we will be looking for candidates both internally and externally. We expect the transition to take place by the end of 2023.
When I came here in the summer of 2011, a lot of people thought I would only be here for a year or two. But eleven years later, I’m now six decades into my career, and of all that I’ve done, this is the job that I’ve enjoyed the most. I am proud to say that I am the longest serving CEO in WMG’s history. It’s a wonderful company, and I’m excited to help choose my successor.
In the meantime, if anyone asks you about this news, you can just say it’s business as usual. We are increasing our investment in artists and songwriters. We are evolving our corporate culture and developing our dynamic and diverse team. We are significantly increasing our global footprint and making transformational acquisitions. We build on our reputation as the most dynamic and forward-thinking major. We’re only at the start of a new golden age in music, and WMG is beautifully positioned for continued growth and innovation, with new opportunities emerging every day.
I know Max, Guy, Carianne and all of the upper management all agree – what matters most is the music. So please keep up the great work. The main reason I’ve stayed here as long as I’ve been is because of all of you – the brilliant people at WMG. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this incredible team.
Forward, forward and upward.