UMG president to become chairman-CEO of publishing arm

Universal Music Group prexy-CEO Zach Horowitz is moving to a new role within the music giant as chairman-CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group.

Announcement comes on the eve of an expected announcement by the European Commission regarding the pending acquisition of EMI Music Publishing by Sony/ATV and a consortium of equity partners.

Move can be seen as UMG’s attempt to ramp up its worldwide pubbery in the face of anticipated stiff competition from a bulked-up Sony-EMI combine. According to an April 17 story in the New York Times citing a bond prospectus obtained by the paper, the merged publishers will account for 31% of the business.

Horowitz, who has been prexy at UMG since 1996, will oversee Universal’s publishing arm globally, directing more than 40 companies around the world, as well as Rondor Music and Universal Publishing Production Music, the company’s library.

Late last year, Evan Lamberg was promoted to prexy of UMPG North America, filling a vacancy left by the departure of David Renzer a year ago (Variety, Oct. 14).

Horowitz will continue to supervise UMG’s government relations and public policy activities and serve on UMG management board and the board of UMG’s video service Vevo.

There are no plans to fill the UMG presidency, according to a company spokesman.

UMG chairman-CEO Lucian Grainge said in a statement, “Zach’s appointment to lead UMPG is testament to how important publishing is to my plans for UMG’s future. … For nearly two decades, he has championed the interests of our publishing company and been the key architect of its growth. Now I want him to concentrate full time on maximizing UMPG’s true potential in this challenging marketplace.” 

Horowitz added, “Lucian’s mandate is to build on our strong foundation, committing all necessary resources to innovate, acquire, expand and lead…The challenges and opportunities facing songwriters and publishing companies have never been more significant.  From initiating new ways to super-serve our writers so the return on their creativity is maximized, to proactively empowering new partners and business models so the full potential of the digital revolution is realized, this is a transformational moment in the history of music publishing.”

A graduate of Stanford Law School, Horowitz has been with Universal since 1980, following a stint in the legal department at CBS Records (now Sony). He took various executive business and legal affairs roles at the company before his appointment as executive vp in 1989 and COO in 1994.

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