In a surprise move, Ole Obermann, Warner Music’s chief digital officer, is leaving the company, a rep confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by Music Business Worldwide.
A source tells Variety that the parting was basically mutual and Obermann elected not to renew his contract, and that Warner chief Steve Cooper is going to take a beat before deciding on a replacement.
The staff was notified via memos sent to staff from Obermann and Warner chief Steve Cooper. Obermann said “these decisions are never easy” and thanked Cooper, recorded music chief Max Lousada and the staff.
Cooper wrote that Obermann has “accomplished much over the past three years – including leading the renewals for all of our major digital partnerships, helping to expand the scope of our commercial activities, and overseeing the creation of WMG Boost, our seed-stage investment fund.”
Obermann came on board in 2016 after a decade at Sony Music and has led the company through negotiations with YouTube, Spotify — including an unusually contentious recent standoff in India — and other complex situations, which his farewell note addressed. “We’ve found a great balance between accelerating global streaming growth and championing the next wave of change,” he wrote, nothing that their work “during this critical inflection point will help ensure a bright future for the entire music ecosystem.”