Photo: Kevin Wimpy / UMG

Highly respected executive becomes first woman to lead Nashville Major Label Group

SANTA MONICA and NASHVILLE, JANUARY 10, 2023 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced that Cindy Mabe has been appointed Chair and CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville (UMGN), effective April 1, 2023. Mabe will succeed Mike Dungan, who announced his intention to retire from his position at UMGN after more than a decade there and a total of four decades in the music industry.

One of Music Row’s most respected music executives and distinguished marketers, Mabe has blazed a trail throughout her career. In 2014, she became Nashville’s highest-ranking woman label executive when she was appointed as UMGN President. Her promotion to Chair and CEO further extends this distinction, as she makes history again by becoming the first woman to serve as Chair and CEO of a Nashville-based major label group.

During her tenure at UMG, Mabe has helped guide and grow the careers of some of country music’s biggest stars, including Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Jordan Davis, Mickey Guyton, Sam Hunt, Alan Jackson, Parker McCollum, Reba McEntire, Kacey Musgraves, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton, George Strait, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Brothers Osborne and Little Big Town, among countless others.

Mabe’s dedication and tremendous work for her artists and her countless contributions to the music community have earned the industry leader multiple awards and honors, including the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum Award and the SOURCE Hall of Fame Award. Mabe was recognized as one of Billboard’s Women in Music 2015-2022 and named to Billboard’s Country Power Players list every year since its inception in 2015 including earning 2019’s Billboard Country Power Players Executive of the Year. Mabe also serves on the Academy of Country Music board and the Alumni Association Board of Belmont University.

In making the announcement, Mabe said, “For the past 15 years, Mike Dungan has been my mentor and partner. He has built one of the most enduring and impactful legacies in country music history. He’s also been my friend. I’m grateful for the chance he took on me and so very proud of what we have built together over those 15 years with our staff and the most enviable roster in music.

“To now be in a position, as Mike’s successor, to advance the musical and cultural impact of Universal Music Group Nashville into the future is truly a humbling honor. Country music has been my life’s passion. It’s my childhood and my future. It’s the heartbeat that speaks truth to all walks of life in the best and worst of times. It’s truly a gift to get to honor, protect and build the next era of country music history with UMGN.

“I want to thank Sir Lucian Grainge for his belief in me, his brilliant leadership and for building this incredible culture that puts artists and music first.”

Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG’s Chairman and CEO said, “We’re thrilled to have Cindy step into this role. She is a transformational executive, who has a distinguished track record of designing and implementing innovative strategies to help build artists’ careers and bring their music to fans around the world. Cindy’s credibility in the artist community and her deep experience will help us deliver countless additional artists’ successes going forward.”

Mabe joined UMGN in 2012 as Senior Vice President, Marketing responsible for leading marketing across Capitol Records Nashville, EMI Records Nashville, MCA Nashville, and Mercury Nashville and UMG’s expanded suite of country labels following its acquisition of EMI.

Prior to that, Mabe spent five years at Capitol Records Nashville, where she held the position of SVP, Marketing and played an integral role in the long-term creative and commercial success of the label that saw it named Billboard magazine’s “Country Label of the Year” consecutively for seven years from 2005 – 2012.

A North Carolina native, Mabe attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated from Belmont University in Nashville with a B.S. in Business Administration. She began her music career as promotions coordinator at RCA Nashville, before shifting to sales and then artist marketing and Development, during which time she worked with artists including Clint Black, Martina McBride, and Alabama. She later served as Senior Director, Marketing and Artist Development at Arista Records Nashville from 1999-2007 working with the likes of Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, and Diamond Rio before joining Capitol Records Nashville in 2007.

Mabe is also the recent recipient of “The First Responders Children’s Foundation Corporate Hero Award.” Because of Mabe, the label and leading talent she represents have raised both awareness and money in support of the mission of the Foundation through PSA’s and the Parade of Trees Christmas initiative which provides scholarships for children of first responders and supports the First Responders Children’s Foundation Resiliency program that provides free and confidential mental health counseling services to the children of first responders.