Company to cut workforce by 20%

HOLLYWOOD — Business divisions at Elektra Entertainment Group and the Atlantic Group labels will be consolidated and Warner Music Group chairman and CEO Lyor Cohen will serve as interim chairman of both labels. The moves are part of Warner Music Group’s series of restructuring initiatives.

WMG will reduce its global workforce by 20% this month with many layoffs occurring Tuesday. Many longtime employees in A&R, publicity and promotion departments got the axe Tuesday.

Reporting directly to Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group, will be Cohen; Paul-Rene Albertini, formerly president of Warner Music Intl., who will now run the company as its chairman and CEO; and Leslie Bider, chairman and CEO of Warner/Chappell Music.

Also reporting to Bronfman are Helen Murphy, chief financial officer of WMG; Dave Johnson, executive VP and general counsel for the company; and Will Tanous, who was promoted to head up corporate communications.

Bronfman and Roger Ames, who has run Warner Music for four years, are discussing a senior management role at the company.

Reporting directly to Cohen will be Tom Whalley, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records; Scott Pascucci, president of Warner Strategic Marketing, which includes Rhino Records; and John Esposito, president, WEA Corp., WMG’s distribution arm.

Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun will remain with WMG. Leaving the company are Sylvia Rhone, chairman and CEO of Elektra; Val Azzoli, co-chairman and co-CEO of the Atlantic Group’ and Ron Shapiro, co-president of Atlantic Records (Daily Variety, March 2).

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