Lucian Grainge named UMG chair/CEO

Departure of former topper Doug Morris clears the way

With Doug Morris’ departure from Universal Music Group now set, parent Vivendi has promoted Lucian Grainge to chairman-CEO.

Grainge moved in as co-CEO with Morris at UMG last year, and took the solo leadership Jan. 1. Morris had stayed on board as chairman, but was being wooed by the No. 2 music firm, Sony Music Entertainment, to replace CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, whose contract was ending.

Last week, Sony finally announced that Morris would join the company as CEO on July 1 (Variety, March 3), clearing the way for Grainge’s elevation.

Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy, to whom Grainge reports, said in a statement, “We are delighted to appoint Lucian to the top position in music worldwide. His track record over the last 30 years in the music business is impeccable. He is perfectly qualified to lead UMG through the digital era across the globe.”

Vivendi also announced that Grainge has been elected to the board of directors of Activision Blizzard. The French firm’s gaming subsidiary.

Grainge had led Universal Music Group Intl. since 2005. He had previously taken senior roles at PolyGram U.K. He began his career with CBS/April Music in 1979.