NORMAN CHENG TO LEAVE UNIVERSAL MUSIC
LONDON, 17 MAY 2002 — Universal Music Asia Pacific Chairman Norman Cheng, a 30-year veteran of the region’s music industry and one of its most celebrated leaders, is leaving the company to pursue personal interests and to spend more time with his family.
Cheng, 55, has helmed market-leading Universal Music Asia Pacific since 1998, having previously steered PolyGram to regional dominance during more than 25 years’ association with the company.
Universal Music International Chairman/CEO Jorgen Larsen comments, “Of course, it is sad to lose someone with the incredible track record of Norman, but this is what he wishes to do at this juncture in his life, and it is something that we at Universal Music must respect.”
Cheng says, “I believe that after more than 30 years in this music business, I owe myself a well-deserved break and need to devote more time to my family and various personal interests.”
Cheng will leave his Hong Kong-based post on June 30, 2002. His responsibilities will be assumed by Harry Hui, President of Universal Music Southeast Asia. In Japan, Universal Music K.K. President Kei Ishizaka, who previously reported to Cheng, will report to Larsen.
Hui comments, “Norman has been a cornerstone of our business in Asia, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to take Universal Music to even greater success in future.” Hui joined Universal Music on February 1, 2002, from MTV Networks Asia, where he was Executive Vice President and Managing Director of MTV North Asia.
Cheng became associated with PolyGram in Hong Kong during the early ’70s, after a successful career as a musician. He advanced to become the company’s regional director for Southeast Asia, and was later appointed its president.
During his tenure, Cheng played a central role in the career development of such stars as Jacky Cheung, Sam Hui, Teresa Teng, Paula Tsui, Alan Tam and Yundi Li. In particular, Cheung’s multi-million selling albums made him the region’s first superstar. Cheng was also the first executive to recognise the huge potential of the Mandarin pop market for artists who previously recorded only in Cantonese.
Cheng was appointed Chairman of Universal Music Asia Pacific following Seagram’s acquisition of PolyGram in 1998. Earlier that same year, at the MTV/Billboard Asian Music Conference in Hong Kong, he was presented with the event’s inaugural Pioneer Award for his outstanding contributions to the Asian music industry.
“Although I leave Universal Music with mixed feelings,” says Cheng, “I’m happy in the knowledge that, under Harry Hui’s leadership, there is an excellent team in place who have the ability to rise to any challenge and succeed.”