Ever since Jon Platt announced in September that he will be stepping down from his post at the helm of Warner/Chappell Publishing to take the top job at Sony/ATV when Martin Bandier’s contract is up at the end of March, speculation has been rife about who will take over for him.
One name has been spoken by insiders far more than any other: Sony/ATV veteran Guy Moot.
The move would make sense: Few publishing executives have the experience, the connections or the clout to fill Platt’s shoes. Platt’s deputy, Katie Vinten, is transitioning to a consulting role at the company while she launches a Warner label with hitmaker Justin Tranter. And sources tell Variety the London-based Moot had long been tapped by Bandier to take over for him when he retired — and was not overjoyed when the nod went to Platt.
Sources close to the situation emphasized that W/C’s talks with Moot are ongoing, but noted that should the two come to terms, a likely scenario would see Moot sharing power with Carianne Marshall, who Platt named as Warner/Chappell’s COO shortly before he announced his departure; both would report to Warner Music chief Steve Cooper. While Marshall — formerly a partner at SONGS Music Publishing, which was sold to Kobalt last year for $150 million — is new to the company and the majors, she is capable and well-liked, and sources predict a big role for her in the company’s new administration.
The arrangement would be similar in structure to the CEO/COO model at Atlantic Records, where CEO Craig Kallman essentially handles the music-making side while COO Julie Greenwald markets the recordings and runs the company (there is significant crossover between their roles, but generally speaking that’s the idea). That model was adopted by RCA with Peter Edge and former COO Tom Corson, and now at Warner Bros. Records with Corson and new CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck.
Some sources also say that Moot would have to negotiate an exit from his Sony/ATV contract, but considering that sources say Warner Music chief Steve Cooper allowed Platt to leave the company without finishing up his contract, it seems likely Sony/ATV would return the favor.
Contacted by Variety on Sunday, reps for Sony/ATV and Warner/Chappell declined comment.
Platt leaves Warner/Chappell much stronger than it was when he joined the company in 2012. In the third quarter of 2017, the company became the first publisher (and thus far the only one) to break Sony/ATV’s five-year consecutive run at the top of Billboard’s Publisher’s Quarterly chart. Several W/C executives have thrived under Platt, including the company’s Nashville president Ben Vaughn and Ryan Press, who is co-head of A&R with Vinten.
Platt joined the company after 17 years at EMI (many of them working under Bandier), where his signings included Jay-Z, Beyonce, Diddy, Drake and many others — several of whom followed him to Warner/Chappell (along with Lin Manuel Miranda, DJ Khaled, Rihanna and more). He was named chairman/CEO in 2015.