As expected, Warner Music announced today that Miles Leonard will step down as chairman of Parlophone Records in January. In the same announcement, Mark Mitchell, who has been with Atlantic for the past eight years, was named co-president of the label, also effective in January. He will report to Warner CEO of recorded music Max Lousada, with whom he’d previously worked at Atlantic several years back. (Parlophone and Atlantic are
Leonard, a 23-year Parlophone veteran who has signed and worked with such artists as Coldplay, Gorillaz, Tinie Tempah, Royal Blood, Blur, Kylie, Paul Weller and Lily Allen, will continue in an advisory A&R role and support the leadership transition until late next year, and will continue to work with Warner Music on certain projects.
The move is one of several Lousada since his appointment as head of Warner was announced in April, along with changes at Warner Bros. Records U.S., which will see Cameron Strang step down as chairman and CEO, with Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson taking the helm; and Rani Hancock being named president of Sire Records, among other moves.
“Working at Parlophone has been the adventure of a lifetime,” Leonard said. “It’s been a privilege to be the custodian of a label that occupies such a unique place in popular culture and to have worked with so many unique and inspiring artists, managers and teams. It was a difficult decision, but now really is the right time for me to give up my day-to-day responsibilities so I can focus solely on the music and artists I love. Mitch and I have known each other for many years. He is driven, passionate and he’s a great guy. Stepping down is both easy and exciting when passing Parlophone on to a leader of his caliber. I just hope he is also ready for the next 23 years.”
Max Lousada said, “Miles is the definition of music man. Under his guidance Parlophone has discovered and championed seminal artists who’ve released important, much-loved music and been wildly successful doing it. Miles has always understood that true artist development takes a lot of heart and he brings that to everything he does, so I’m excited for how his relationship with Warner will evolve and grateful for his extraordinary contribution to music over the past two decades.
“I couldn’t be happier that Mitch is taking on this role,” he continued. “He has the rare skill of understanding how to break artists as well as delivering massive moments for global superstars. This is a fantastic new chapter for Mitch and for Parlophone.”
For his part, Mitchell said, “It’s an honor to work for such a prestigious label that’s considered a bastion of British cultural influence. Parlophone has never been scared to embrace distinctive and disruptive talent and that’s a tradition that I’m looking forward to continuing.” Mitchell will continue as General Manager for Atlantic Records UK until the end of the year.
Leonard began his career as an A&R scout at Virgin Records in 1991 and joined Parlophone in 1995. The label was acquired by Warner Music Group in 2013.