SYLVIA RHONE APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF MOTOWN RECORDS AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, UNIVERSAL RECORDS
New York, New York, October 1, 2004…Sylvia Rhone has been appointed President of Motown Records and Executive Vice President of Universal Records, it was announced today by Mel Lewinter, Chairman of Universal Motown Records Group.
In her new role, Ms. Rhone will have direct responsibility for the Motown label, home to some of music’s biggest stars, including Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Michael McDonald, Brian McKnight and India.Arie, among others. Moreover, she will serve as Executive Vice President of Universal Records where she will be involved in a number of musical projects.
“As we continue to expand Universal Motown’s A&R driven strategy, there is no one better to compliment our team than Sylvia,” stated Lewinter. “Her enthusiasm for discovering a diversity of artists and her unique vision regarding the complexity of new platforms and formats that drive our industry, make her a natural to lead Motown’s evolution into the future.”
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Sylvia,” remarked Monte Lipman, President of Universal Records. “I know that her creative spirit, passion, and unparalleled business skills will help us continue to break new ground for our artists.”
Commented Doug Morris, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group, “Sylvia is a first-class music executive who not only brings to Motown and Universal a unique understanding of the creative community and what inspires it, but extensive management experience. The entire Universal family joins me in welcoming her on board.”
“It’s an honor and a homecoming to be working with Doug Morris and Mel Lewinter again. The culture they’ve created here is a huge breath of fresh air and the consummate music environment: One that breeds passion, creativity, respect and unparalleled success,” stated Ms. Rhone. “I consider Doug Morris the seminal music man, and couldn’t ask for better colleagues to work with than Mel, Jimmy Iovine, L.A. Reid, and Monte Lipman. I look forward to being part their continuing success story and the amazing legacy of this historic and vibrant label.”
Sylvia Rhone has risen to the top of the ranks of the male dominated record industry by single-handedly creating the template for the African American female CEO. Ms. Rhone’s most recent position as Chairman/CEO of the Elektra Entertainment Group saw her helm one of the Warner Music Group’s most prestigious labels, ruling over a hip hop, rock, R&B and pop imprint that made Elektra one of the most diverse labels in the history of popular music.
Ms. Rhone was the first African American and first woman to become Chairman of a major label when she was appointed Chairman/CEO of Elektra in 1994, guiding the consolidation of four labels into the Elektra Entertainment Group. Under her leadership, Elektra experienced a nearly decade-long run with such chart-topping, award winning artists as Missy Elliott, Metallica, Jet, Fabolous, Staind, Tami, Yolanda Adams, Gerald Levert, Tracy Chapman, and Jason Mraz, among others.
Ms. Rhone began her career with Buddha Records in 1974. Over the next several years, primarily with Atlantic Records, Ms. Rhone received a succession of promotions, taking on broader responsibilities in 1986 with her appointment as Vice President/General Manager of Atlantic’s Black Music Operation. In 1988 she was promoted to Senior Vice President of Atlantic Records.
In 1990 Ms. Rhone became the first African American woman to head a major record company when she was named CEO/President of Atlantic’s new East West Records America division. A year later, when the East West artist roster and operations were combined with Taco Records, Ms. Rhone was named Chairman/CEO of Atco/EastWest, and subsequently EastWest Records America. At EastWest she was directly responsible for the careers of superstar artists including En Vogue, Gerald Levert, Pantera, and Simply Red, among others.
Ms. Rhone has been honored with more than two-dozen awards during her career. A graduate of the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Rhone was named an Alumni Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, and is a recipient of the Black Alumni of Pratt’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Rhone is an inductee of the National Association of Black Female Executives In Music And Entertainment Hall Of Fame. Most recently, she was awarded the Turner Broadcasting 2004 Trumpet Award, which heralds the accomplishments of distinguished African Americans around the globe in fields as diverse as law, politics, and entertainment.
Universal Music Group is the world’s largest leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 71 countries around the world. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry’s largest global music publishing operations.
Universal Music Group consists of record labels A&M Records, Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen Records, Interscope Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, MCA Nashville, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Records and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.).
Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.