Jeffrey Harleston
Courtesy of Universal Music Group
United States

Universal Music Group


EVP, Business & Legal Affairs / General Counsel, Global

Harleston needs a bigger business card. Already tasked with closing the Tencent Music investment in Universal Music Group in early 2020, he became Def Jam interim chairman and CEO in February. In summer 2020, as racial equality was top of mind, he became co-chair — alongside Ethiopia Habtemariam, Motown Records president and Capitol Music Group EVP — for UMG’s Task Force for Meaningful Change, which supports social justice causes and builds internal diversity opportunities. With UMG for over 25 years, he is a big part of the music industry’s bounce back after weathering years of annual losses due to the rise of downloaded and streamed music. He’ll have more on his plate in 2022 upon UMG’s upcoming IPO.


  • Universal Music Group
  • Interscope Geffen A&M


  • Williams College (MA, USA)
  • University of California–Berkeley (CA, USA)

Variety Honors

  • Variety Legal Impact
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News from Variety

Recording Academy Launches Black Music Collective Leadership Council

Recording Academy Launches Black Music Collective Leadership Council

The Recording Academy’s recently launched Black Music Collective has announced a leadership council to join other prominent Black music creators and professionals in amplifying Black voices. It is the most recent step in the Academy’s ongoing stated efforts to diversify its leadership and membership. According to the announcement, the leadership committee is dedicated to progressing the Recording Academy’s mission to achieve equitable representation across its membership and the music industry.The collective will serve as a space for members to speak...


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