Seagram Release: Morris Named Chairman
DOUG MORRIS TO BE CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF POLYGRAM -UNIVERSAL MUSIC COMBINATION
WORLDWIDE OPERATION TO BE NAMED UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP
MONTREAL, June 23, 1998 – The Seagram Company Ltd. today announced that Doug Morris will assume the position of chairman and chief executive officer of the world’s largest music company — to be named Universal Music Group — when PolyGram, currently the world’s leading music entity, and Universal Music are combined. This appointment will become effective upon the completion of the acquisition of PolyGram N.V. by Universal Studios, Inc.
Edgar Bronfman, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Seagram, said: “”Doug Morris is an exceptional talent with proven ability to lead the largest company in the music industry. Under Doug’s leadership, we will work to identify the team that will guide the combined music operations. We are looking forward to working together with the Universal and PolyGram management teams to build the premier music company of the 21st Century.””
Frank J. Biondi, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Studios, Inc., said: “”Doug’s truly outstanding record at Universal Music is ample evidence of his skills as an entertainment executive. He has developed a multi-talented team of executives who have made tremendous improvements in the group’s performance. I am most confident that Doug will be equally successful as the head of our combined operations.””
Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer, Universal Studios, Inc. added, “”Doug Morris has the rare combination of management expertise and creative sensibility. He is a unique executive who speaks both a business and artistic language.””
Doug Morris made the following statement in regard to this appointment: “”I am truly excited by this opportunity and challenge. My colleagues at Universal Music and I are looking forward to working with PolyGram’s executives to solidify our management organization throughout the world. Our goal will be to maximize our strengths and capabilities so that we can begin to capitalize on the worldwide opportunities that exist for our artists, our labels and our people.””
Doug Morris was appointed chairman and chief executive officer, Universal Music Group in November 1995. Since that time, Mr. Morris has re-energized the company by attracting and recruiting some of the music industry’s most talented executives and artists. Universal Music Group has achieved success under his leadership with such popular artists as Chumbawamba, Erykah Badu, George Strait, The Wallflowers, No Doubt, Aqua, Sublime, Mary J. Blige, K-Ci & JoJo, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Counting Crows, Beck, Diana Krall, Sister Hazel, and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Universal Records, under the direction of Mr. Morris, has become one of the industry’s most successful start-up record labels ever. Mr. Morris was also the moving force behind Universal’s 50% acquisition of Interscope Records. Additionally, the Universal Music Group has expanded its international presence to a total of 31 offices, covering approximately 95% of the world music market and has had such recent million-sellers as Claudinho & Buchecha (Brazil), Luna Sea (Japan) and Rosana (Spain).
Prior to joining Universal Music Group, Mr. Morris was with Rising Tide Entertainment, a full service record label he formed through a joint venture with MCA Music Entertainment Group (now the Universal Music Group) in July 1995. Prior to Rising Tide, Mr. Morris was chairman and CEO of Warner Music U.S., where he oversaw all of Warner Music Group’s U.S. operations.
Mr. Morris worked at Warner Music U.S. for 17 years. During his tenure, he ran Atlantic Records and transformed it into the number one company within the Warner Music Group and a premier company within the industry.
A graduate of Columbia University, Mr. Morris began his music career as a songwriter for music publisher Robert Mellin, Inc. His credits include writing the Chiffons’ 1966 hit “”Sweet Talkin’ Guy”” and producing hit songs such as Brownsville Station’s “”Smokin’ in the Boys Room.”” He joined Laurie Records in 1965 as a writer and producer and was eventually named vice president and general manager. Later, he launched his own label, Big Tree Records, which was first distributed and then in 1978 acquired by Atlantic Records. Mr. Morris was named president of ATCO Records in 1978, and became co-chairman and co-ceo with Ahmet Ertegun for the Atlantic Recording Group. In 1994 he was named president and chief operating officer of Warner Music-U.S., and later, chairman.
The Seagram Company Ltd. operates in two global business segments: beverages and entertainment. The beverage businesses are engaged principally in the production and marketing of distilled spirits, wines, fruit juices, coolers, beers and mixers throughout more than 150 countries and territories. The entertainment company, Universal Studios, Inc., produces and distributes motion picture, television and home video products, recorded music under the Universal Music Group, which includes Universal Music International, MCA Music Publishing, Universal Music & Video Distribution, and Universal Concerts, and such labels as MCA Records, MCA Records Nashville, GRP Recording Company, Geffen Records, Universal Records, Interscope Records, and Hip-O Records; and operates theme parks and retail stores. Headquartered in Montreal, Seagram employs 30,000 people worldwide. The Company’s corporate website is located at www.seagram.com.
PolyGram N.V. is a global entertainment company with annual revenues over $5.5 billion. It is the world’s leading record company with such pop and classical record labels as A&M, Decca/London, Def Jam, Deutsche Grammophon, Island, London, Mercury, Motown, Philips Music Group, Polydor and Verve. Through its PolyGram Filmed Entertainment division, PolyGram is also a leading producer and distributor of film, television and video. Its film companies include Gramercy Pictures, Interscope Communications, PolyGram Films, PolyGram Television, PolyGram Video, Propaganda Films and Working Title Films. PolyGram is quoted on the Amsterdam and New York stock exchanges (PLG). PolyGram’s U.S. website is at www.PolyGram-US.com.