You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vevo CEO Erik Huggers Is Stepping Down

Updated. Erik Huggers is stepping down as the president and CEO of the major-label-owned music video platform Vevo, the company announced Friday. CFO Alan Price will be stepping in as interim CEO while the company is looking for new leadership; Price will continue to serve as Vevo’s CFO as well.

“We would like to thank Erik for his hard work, dedication and leadership at Vevo, which grew dramatically during his tenure and helped forge stronger connections between artists and fans through popular features and original programming,” Vevo’s board said Friday in a statement announcing the leadership transition.

“During the last couple of months, I have been doing a lot of soul searching and I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to step down as Chief Executive Officer as we close out a record breaking year,” Huggers said in a memo to staff that Variety was able to obtain. (Read the full memo below.)

Huggers joined Vevo as president and CEO in 2015 after the departure of its founding CEO Rio Caraeff. Before joining Vevo, he had been leading Intel’s short-lived internet television efforts, developing a TV service called OnCue that never launched. He was also instrumental to the BBC’s launch of the iPlayer.

At Vevo, Huggers was pushing for more independence from YouTube, which continues to be the service’s biggest distribution platform. As part of these efforts, he built out a San Francisco-based product team that launched owned-and-operated apps for mobile and TV-connected devices.

Huggers was also toying with the idea to launch a paid subscription service centered around music videos, but the company shelved those plans earlier this year.  Vevo also developed initiatives around original content and live streaming, and dabbled in live events as well.

Ultimately, Huggers’ ambitions for Vevo may not have been met by those of the company’s owners. The music video platform is jointly owned by Universal Music and Sony, with both Google and the Abu Dhabi Media Group holding a minority stake.

The labels have long had a contentious relationship with Google, alleging that the company doesn’t pay enough for the use of their music. However, Vevo’s distribution agreement with YouTube has resulted in a steady stream of revenue for the labels, and Vevo-supplied music has been a big boon for YouTube’s viewing numbers as well. Earlier this year, Vevo disclosed that more than 40 percent of YouTube’s U.S. audience was tuning into Vevo videos in a given month.

Google is currently in negotiations with the labels for a new music service, while Vevo’s contract with YouTube is up for renewal early next year. The outcome of those negotiations could shape the future of Vevo, and determine whether the company will scale back the work on owned-and-operated products it started under Huggers.

Here’s the full memo departing CEO Erik Huggers sent to staff Friday:

“Dear all,

During the last couple of months, I have been doing a lot of soul searching and I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to step down as Chief Executive Officer as we close out a record breaking year.

While I am a big believer in the growth opportunities of the direction we have discussed at recent Town Hall meetings, I also think that now is the perfect time for someone new to lead this next chapter for Vevo.

I am leaving you in the capable hands of Alan Price as interim CEO. Effective immediately, the shareholders have appointed him to this role while they conduct a search for my permanent replacement. Please support Alan during this time of transition.

When I reflect on nearly three years with Vevo, I cannot help but to feel very proud of the transformation that we have achieved together. Whether you look at financial performance, audience engagement, editorial output, product experience, brand recognition, impact and exposure in the market place, etc. By all those indicators Vevo is a much stronger company today.

Thank you for your trust, passion and incredible work. There is only one fitting way to try to express how I truly feel about the people @vevo and that’s via this Music Video. It has been a real honor to lead this fun and talented team and I wish you every success in the future!!

All the best,


Update: 1:22pm: This post was updated with Erik Huggers’ memo to staff.

More Digital

  • Netflix - The Witcher

    'The Witcher' on Track to Be Netflix's Biggest TV Show Premiere Ever, Company Claims

    Netflix said “The Witcher,” the fantasy series starring Henry Cavill, is pacing to be its biggest first-season original TV series ever. “The Witcher,” which debuted Dec. 20 on Netflix, was chosen to be watched by 76 million customer households in the first four weeks of release, according to the company. That would appear to mean [...]

  • The Irishman

    Netflix Adds 8.8 Million Subscribers in Q4, Cites Competition for Lower U.S. Gains

    Netflix beat its forecast for overall subscriber additions for the fourth quarter of 2019, while it brought in fewer than expected U.S. streaming customers. The company added a net 420,000 streaming customers in the U.S. and 8.33 million overseas in the year-end 2019 quarter, for a total of 8.76 million net adds. Netflix had previously [...]

  • Tubi

    Free Streaming Service Tubi to Launch in Mexico in Pact With TV Azteca

    Tubi is heading to Mexico: The free, ad-supported streaming service announced plans to launch in the country later this year as well as a pact with TV Azteca, one of the largest producers of Spanish-language television programming. Under the terms of their deal, TV Azteca will sell advertising and promote Tubi across broadcast and digital [...]

  • CAA's Eric Wattenberg Joins Wheelhouse Group

    CAA's Eric Wattenberg Joins Wheelhouse Group as Chief Content Officer

    Eric Wattenberg, longtime CAA agent and co-head of its alternative television department, has joined producer Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Group as chief content officer. Wattenberg will spearhead content development across Wheelhouse’s TV, film and digital operations, as well as its Wheelhouse Labs branded entertainment wing. The deal is a coup for the company, launched by “Pawn [...]

  • The Simpsons - Disney parodies -

    Disney Mashes Up 'The Simpsons' Parodies of Disney Films, Theme Parks

    Disney has embraced some of the gentle ribbing dished out by “The Simpsons” over the years — hoping to convince more people to sign up for Disney Plus. The media conglomerate released a compilation of what it calls “the best Disney references in ‘The Simpsons,'” which is now part of the Disney empire, with past [...]

  • NATPE 2020 Miami Fontainebleau Hotel

    NATPE 2020: Bumpy Start But Business Is Humming as Conference Begins

    MIAMI — A technology meltdown at Fontainebleau Miami Beach made for a bumpy start to getting settled at NATPE for numerous executives and producers who arrived here over the weekend. Nonetheless, the core business of the content-sales gathering was humming as numerous distributors reported new deals and renewal pacts inked over the past few days. [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    Disney Plus Set for Earlier Launch in U.K. & Western Europe

    The Walt Disney Co. has set March 24 as the new launch date for Disney Plus in the U.K. and other key markets across Western Europe. With the roll-out previously set for March 31, the streaming service will now be available a week earlier in the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. Pricing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content