Longtime Warner Music Group executive Lyor Cohen is now leaving the building, according to details confirmed by the company on Monday afternoon. The exit ends an eight-year stint, most recently as Recorded Music Chairman and CEO.
Cohen, who officially departs on September 30th, offered the following statement:
Whether Warner Music 'respects and honors' artists is subject to serious debate -- or maybe just the punchline to a joke. In a recently-filed lawsuit by James Taylor against WMG division Warner Bros. Records, a depressing laundry list of financial cheating and trickery emerged. Taylor is unlikely the exception in this sordid picture, though it's difficult to tell exactly what role Cohen played in these abuses.
The timing of the departure seems apt. Cohen's farewell closely follows the approval of Universal Music Group's acquisition of EMI, by both European and US-based regulators. Warner was quite visibly interested in buying EMI at a lower price, if approvals were not granted or overly complicated. The group went so far as to send former WMG chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. to Congressional hearings to make the case against approval.
The exit also follows the acquisition of Warner Music itself by Len Blavatnik, who set a slow-moving restructuring in place under the guidance of CEO Stephen Cooper. That includes chopping extremely expensive executives like Cohen, whose lavish lifestyle was well-documented and a source of frustration for Wall Street investors. Indeed, the Warner brass and board, of which Cohen was a central figure, seemed polished at racking massive losses while collecting gigantic compensation packages.
One question is whether the Cohen, quite the legacy animal, can now survive in a much different industry. Just recently, Cohen played Mr. Progressive by describing the industry's addiction to the bundled CD, though ironically, that addiction fueled an enormous personal fortune. And Lyor was good at this game: other executives have described Cohen as a very astute political creature, one who cut his teeth in the relatively ruthless rap world. Perhaps Cohen still has the scrappiness to make an impact.
Moving forward, all senior executives at WMG will report directly to Cooper.
@melissaswebster Monday, September 24, 2012
And the saga continues...
Integrity Monday, September 24, 2012
Cohen got two mansions in the Hamptons.
James Taylor paid for them.
Better Botta Monday, September 24, 2012
Please pay ONE of your artists before spinning that B.S.!
Fake Walter Yetnikoff Monday, September 24, 2012
Remember when I stole James Taylor from Mo Ostin? LOL
paul Monday, September 24, 2012
Just got these internal letters.
I. CEO Stephen Cooper to Staff.
Lyor Cohen has expressed his desire to move on to his next challenge and will be leaving WMG at the end of the month. I want to thank Lyor for all of his many contributions to our company. The fact that we have such a strong Recorded
Music management team in place to ensure a seamless transition is in large part due to Lyor’s leadership. The enduring success of our Recorded Music division will serve as a great testament to his work here.
Following Lyor’s departure, the Recorded Music executives that previously reported to Lyor will report to me.
While the music business continues to evolve and change, one thing remains the same: the quality of the people here at WMG—an exceptional team which is both talented and committed to success. Our strategy continues on track. In fact, we have all the ingredients for excellence—the finest artists and employees, the financial flexibility and the commitment of an owner who is willing to take a long-term view of the business.
Now it’s up to us. And it will take all of our passion, determination and energy. History has shown us that you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best. You have to be the most nimble, creative and disciplined. You have to provide artists with the best support system and music fans with the best products and experiences. And you have to work as a tight-knit unit.
Thank you for your tremendous efforts. I’m excited for what the future holds and what we will accomplish together.
II. Letter from Lyor:
For almost nine years now, this company has been my home, and you have been my family. I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. I am so proud of the artists we’ve broken.
With everything in place for our ongoing success, now is the time for me to step away from WMG.
Look how far we've come. I first arrived here right afterEdgar and the investor group acquired the company fromTime Warner. I remember visiting Ahmet Ertegun in his office early on and I'll never forget his description of how the company needed to find its way again—by developing more great artists. That day, I promised Ahmet that we would work together to restore Warner Music's artist development to its historic highs.
Well, it took years of work, but we did it. We have an incredible team of employees, and an artist roster that’s the envy of the business. We’ve seen the rebirth ofAtlantic and Warner Nashville, and Warner Bros. is well on its way. That’s something all of you should be proud of.
As most of you know, I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. My happiest days in this business are those when I get to work directly on the development of artists. When I came to Warner, I was determined to create my role in the organization to be unlike one that’s ever existed at a major music company. I wanted to serve as a bridge between corporate and the labels, between strategy and execution, between art and commerce. I believe that driving a relentless focus on A&R is what music companies need to win. And I think we've achieved that here. But remember: artist development is not static, it’s a continuous process that takes place in an environment that promotes risk-taking. There’s never time to rest on your accomplishments, you need to keep working at it and always have the courage to fight on behalf of the artists and the music.
Now, as WMG enters its next chapter, I’m ready to begin mine. I can’t yet announce what I’ll be doing next, I can only say that it will be something where I can work my entrepreneurial muscles and partner with artists. That’s where my passion has always been.
I want to thank each one of you for your incredible dedication and commitment to our artists. After all, it is because of our artists that we get to be in this great business. While I will miss you all, I know our paths will cross.
With love and gratitude,
Auroa of Ahmet Ertegun Monday, September 24, 2012
loss leader Tuesday, September 25, 2012
He has been a thief since his days at Def Jam, stealing and under reporting unit sales of Redman, LL Cool J and others to when Def Jam was distributed by Polygram and Montell Jordan had a hit record on the label but he and other execs looted all of the promotional money for the album and Def Jam had to take loans from Polygram to continue to sell the album. He has built his career on stealing and treating various employees like shit unless you were part of his very small circle ( Julie, Kevin, etc;) This guy is a devil.
Gaetano Tuesday, September 25, 2012
1.EMI/UMG Goes through
2.Faxon Sends letter to staff
3.Cohen Puts in notice
I'll put the money on the idea that Lyor is gonna be that executive Faxon was mentioning in the letter....
@HoodgrownTracks Tuesday, September 25, 2012
No one's job is safe!
@BoothSweet Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Former WB Burbank Exec Thursday, September 27, 2012
Lyor is Liar is one of biggest dirtbags ever known in music biz. Now that's really saying something. Good riddance to a confirmed industry parasite and crook, you will not be missed. May instant karma get you on the way out the door, and in your life, for the transgressions and corrupt dealing you've shown to talented artists for decades. YOUR LEGACY LYOR IS BULL CRAP, DUMPER.