Renowned music mogul Lyor Cohen is stepping down after nearly a decade at Warner Music Group as CEO in the coming days having worked with artists including Rick Ross, Maybach Music Group and more.
Cohen and other WMG executives have released statements on the unexpected move.
In making the announcement, Cohen said, “To all the artists and employees who live and die for the music every day, and who personally sacrifice for the good of the creative process: ‘keep on keepin’ on’ in the tradition of a company that respects and honors the artistic community.” Len Blavatnik, Chairman and founder of Access Industries, said, “I personally want to thank Lyor for his dedication and contributions to Warner Music. He has been both a business partner and personal friend and I wish him only the best.” Stephen Cooper, WMG’s CEO, said, “Lyor Cohen has built something very special here. While we understand his desire to move on to his next challenge, the enduring success of our recorded music division will serve as a great testament to the progress we’ve made during Lyor’s time at WMG. We are grateful for Lyor’s contributions, and we wish him the best. I’m confident that given the strength of our talented management team in Recorded Music, we’ll be able to drive further success.” Following Cohen’s departure, the company’s senior label executives will report directly to Stephen Cooper. (Market Wire)
Prior to joining the ranks at WMG, Cohen made a name for himself at Def Jam.
Lyor Cohen has served as the Chairman and CEO, Recorded Music for Warner Music Group since 2011. Prior to that, he served as Vice Chairman, WMG and Chairman and CEO, Recorded Music – Americas and the UK, since September 2008. Previously, Cohen was Chairman and CEO, Recorded Music North America from March 2008 to September 2008 and Chairman and CEO, US Recorded Music since joining the company in March 2004. From 2002 to 2004, Cohen was the Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group’s Island Def Jam Music Group. Cohen served as President of Def Jam from 1988 to 2002. Previously, Cohen served in various capacities at Rush Management which he founded with partner Russell Simmons. (Market Wire)
Back in 2009, fellow music executive Damon “Dame” Dash hinted at Cohen breaking up Roc-A-Fella in the mid-2000’s.
“I’m very disappointed where Roc-A-Fella went,” Dame explained in an interview. “I’m very disappointed, it’s like the brand is compromised. I never thought that could ever happen where Roc-A-Fella is just not relevant. Lyor is a funny dude, he’s a mastermind. He’s not scared, I think his influences are what broke up Roc-A-Fella. It’s just all business man and even though I’m not running it no more, you still don’t wanna see something go down. It feels good but it feels bad, it’s bittersweet. It’s hard. I got love for everybody, really. But sometimes people do things that are uncharacteristic of what I thought they were. I wish [Beanie Sigel] could have done a little more. I’m surprised at that certain position he took. But you know, he’s a man and he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do…Kanye is a funny cat to me, I can never know whether he’s acting or not…The Kanye I see on television isn’t the Kanye that I know — but I always will admire his hustle, his work ethic…” (Mixtape Monster)
The former Def Jam president landed on Billboard’s Power 100 Index list earlier this year.
1. Irving Azoff 2. Coran Capshaw 3. Lucian Grainge 4. Martin Bandier 5. Doug Morris 6. Michael Rapino 7. Rob Light 8. Len Blavatnik 9. Tim Leiweke 10. Jimmy Iovine 11. Eddy Cue and Robert Kondrk 12. John Hogan 13. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter & Beyonce Knowles 14. Lyor Cohen 15. Randy Phillips 16. Emmanuel Seuge 17. Frank Cooper 18. Barry Weiss 19. Rob Stringer and Steve Barnett 20. Arthur Fogel 21. Marc Geiger 22. Dan Mason 23. Bob Pittman 24. Roger Faxon 25. Ronald “Slim” Williams and Bryan “Birdman” Williams 26. Rio Caraeff 27. U2 and Paul McGuinness 28. Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman 29. Daniel Ek 30. Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald 31. Lewis W. Dickey, Jr 32. Peter Grosslight 33. Charles Attal, Charlie Jones and Charlie Walker 34. Robert Greenblatt 35. Van Toffler 36. Monte Lipman 37. Antonio “L.A.” Reid 38. Joel Katz 39. Mark Campana and Bob Roux 40. Tim Westergren 41. Peter Edge and Tom Corson 42. Tom Poleman 43. Chip Hooper 44. Hartwig Masuch 45. Rob Cavallo and Todd Moscowitz 46. Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch 47. Nathan Hubbard 48. Jay Brown 49. Evan Lamberg 50. Jon Bon Jovi (Billboard Biz)