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MAJOR CHANGES AT UMG U.K.

Universal Music Group is merging the Island and EMI record labels in a comprehensive restructuring of the company’s U.K. businesses, as first reported by Music Week.

David Joseph, chairman and CEO Universal Music U.K. and Ireland, announced the merger today in an internal memo. At press time, there had been no public announcement.

Joseph said the move would create “two new powerhouse frontline label groups”—Island EMI Label Group, headed by Louis Bloom as president, and the newly formed Polydor Label Group, led by Ben Mortimer. The restructuring is effective as of 10/1.

Earlier this year, UMG reorganized its U.S. teams with the formation of Interscope Capitol Labels Group and REPUBLIC CORPS. Both include multiple labels “with creative autonomy.”

Universal is also making executive changes at the top; EMI Records Co-President Jo Charrington is now president of a “reimagined” U.K. arm of Capitol within the Polydor Label Group. 0207 Def Jam, led by President Alec Boateng, will also reside under the PLG umbrella.


Bloom, Mortimer, Charrington, Boateng, Allen

EMI Records’ other co-president, Rebecca Allen, has a new role as president of Universal’s Audience and Media Division (AMD), a newly formed U.K. department with a global purview. Joining Allen in the Audience and Media team will be Suzy Walby (Media), Kate Wyn Jones (Audience and Digital Strategy) and the insight team of the data and strategic branch The Square, led by Jack Fryer. In his memo, Joseph said the “industry first” AMD team “will revolutionize how we deliver for our artists” and will grow into Universal U.K.’s largest division.

Laura Monks and Tom Lewis will continue at Decca, a stand-alone label, in their roles as co-presidents, and Hannah Neaves will remain president of Universal Music Recordings.

Jospeh did not mention layoffs but did announce the beginning of an evaluation period for staffers, starting today and running through mid-September. Universal U.K. declined to comment on potential staff reductions.

“As a company, we must continue to be forward-looking, innovative and bold. Developing artists now requires more creativity and patience than ever before,” Joseph told employees. “We are committed to being the number one place for artists, fans and talent.”

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