Universal Music Group has announced a strategic expansion of its Sub-Saharan Africa leadership team, with Sipho Dlamini and Elouise Kelly named CEO and COO of Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, respectively, and Chinedu Okeke named managing director of Universal Music Nigeria.
Dlamini will continue to oversee all of UMG’s operations within English-speaking Africa. According to the announcement, since joining UMG in 2016, he has been instrumental in solidifying and growing UMG’s African infrastructure, increasing the visibility of African music around the world and delivering unprecedented artist success in South Africa. He is a member of UMG’s Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC), which was created last year as a driving force for inclusion and social justice within the global music industry and serves as chair for the TFMC’s Global Committee. In his new role, Dlamini will continue to work closely with Adam Granite, UMG’s EVP, Market Development, to identify further opportunities for artists signed to Universal Music Africa.
Kelly joins UMG from global advertising and media agency Ogilvy, where she held the position of Managing Director, South Africa. She will be based in Johannesburg and report to Dlamini; prior to Ogilvy, she held senior positions at SABC, Top TV, Viacom International Media Networks and M-Net.
Okeke will lead the development and expansion of UMG’s existing operations within Nigeria, and further English-speaking markets in West Africa. He will be based in Lagos and will report to Dlamini. He joins UMG after a decade in live entertainment, including founding Eclipse Live and Eclipse Brand Agency, and also served as Executive Producer of Nigeria’s Gidi Culture Festival.
Announcing the changes, Granite said, “I am thrilled to announce these strategic appointments, as we look to further develop our domestic infrastructure and label rosters within Africa. Most integral to achieving our long-term ambitions, is to build a strong leadership team on the ground, with deep foundations in each country to help grow a dynamic ecosystem for all to benefit in the future.
“Over the past few years, Sipho has shown great leadership, commitment and vision for music in Africa, helping UMG to introduce new talent to audiences around the world and identify opportunities to lead the industry in licensing and supporting new platforms to reach African music fans. Elouise and Chin both bring welcome new skills, proven entrepreneurship and important leadership experience that will only serve to bolster UMG’s position as the market-leader across Africa.”
Dlamini said, “There has never been a more exciting time for African music around the world, as it continues to influence and inspire culture and creativity, whilst reaching a wider audience globally each day through streaming. I am delighted to welcome both Elouise and Chin to the UMG family, their unique skills and experiences will only help to further establish UMG as a bedrock within the African music community, that will continue to put the interests and opportunities for artists first and help elevate African talent to new levels of success at home and abroad.”