JORGEN LARSEN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
London, England/New York, New York, May 13, 2005 – Jorgen Larsen, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music International, today announced that he will retire at the expiration of his current contract on June 30, 2006.
“After 34 years in the music business, I have decided to step down from my operational responsibilities when my current contract expires next June,” stated Larsen. “It is with great pride that I turn over the most successful record business in the world to a management team that I have spent years helping to develop.”
It was also announced today that Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music U.K. & Ireland, will become Chairman and CEO of UMI, effective July 1, 2005. To ensure a smooth transition and continuity, Larsen will remain Chairman Emeritus, UMI, until June 30, 2006, and will continue to be actively involved in key projects as well as assisting in the transition process.
“Jorgen has done a tremendous job over the last decade in guiding our international operations into a leadership position in the music business,” stated Doug Morris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group. “He is a gifted executive, who has grown an incredibly talented team of executives and one of the most diverse and dynamic rosters of international talent in the industry. And we are delighted that one of these executives, Lucian Grainge, will now continue to build upon the foundation that he helped Jorgen create. We have all benefited from Jorgen’s leadership, spirit and friendship, and are fortunate that he has agreed to continue with us on a consultancy basis after the end of his current contract.”
Larsen has been UMI Chairman and CEO for the past seven years. He began his music industry career in 1971 at CBS Records International in Paris, and subsequently held senior posts with the company’s operations in Sweden, France and Germany, before his appointment as President of Sony Music Europe in 1990. He joined Universal Music International as President in 1993, and was appointed its Chairman and CEO in 1998.
In his new capacity, Grainge, 45, will assume responsibility for all aspects of Universal Music International, while continuing to run Universal Music U.K. He will report to Morris. Grainge has been Chairman and CEO of Universal Music U.K. since July 2001, during which time the company has dominated the U.K. music market, the world’s third largest.
In 2004, the company broke five new U.K.-signed acts: Scissor Sisters (6x platinum), Keane (6x platinum), Snow Patrol (3x platinum), McFly (double platinum) and Razorlight (platinum). The Scissor Sisters and Keane albums were the top two best-selling albums industrywide in the U.K. last year. The company’s 2004 market shares were 27.8% for albums, 29.6% for singles.
Grainge has worked in the music business for 27 years, beginning his career as an A&R scout for April Music/CBS in 1978. He joined PolyGram as Managing Director of its U.K. music publishing company in 1986, and subsequently rose to posts as Head of A&R and Managing Director of Polydor Records, Deputy Chairman of Universal Music U.K., and, in 2001, Chairman and CEO.