Label group realigns U.S. ops into three divisions

In an effort to more closely align its congruent business units, Warner Music Group has restructured its U.S. operations into three new divisions.

Move was announced Wednesday morning to WMG staffers in an internal memo from CEO Steve Cooper.

Organizational regrouping marks the first major internal shift since the September departure of WMG recorded music chairman-CEO Lyor Cohen, who had reportedly clashed with management over the company’s direction (Daily Variety, Sept. 25). Cooper, previously a mop-up expert at distressed companies, was brought in as chairman last year following Access Industries’ acquisition of WMG, and exchanged roles with CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr., in August.

Cooper told his staff, “By organizing WMG in a way that plays to the strengths of each operating company and enables all of you to focus on what you do best, we’ll keep expanding on our ability to help you identify, develop and promote the world’s greatest recording artists, songwriters and musical catalogs and connect them to a global audience.”

In the realignment, ops will now be divided among three divisions: frontline recorded music; music publishing & catalog development; and label & artist services.

Cooper emphasized, “Let’s be clear: the drivers of our recorded music business, our frontline labels, will remain as they are. Further, the number of employees within each WMG company will not be impacted by the new organizational structure. This realignment is about creating an environment of greater collaboration, helping all of us work better together and improving the way we do business.”

Warner/Chappell chairman-CEO Cameron Strang will take on enlarged responsibilities, topping the newly melded Warner/Chappell Music publishing unit and catalog group Rhino Entertainment. Rhino president-CEO Kevin Gore will report to Strang.

WMG’s frontline labels will continue to be run by its current senior exec team: Atlantic’s Craig Kallman and Julie Greenwald, Warner Bros.’ Rob Cavallo, Todd Moscowitz and Livia Tortella and Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito. They will all continue to report to Cooper, as they have since Cohen’s exit.

WMG CFO Mike Signore will top the label & artist services division, comprising distribution companies WEA and Alternative Distribution Alliance and the company’s 360-degree operations, including touring and merchandising holdings.

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