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Robert Kyncl named CEO of Warner Music Group

By | Published on Thursday 22 September 2022

Robert Kyncl

Warner Music Group has announced longstanding YouTube exec Robert Kyncl as its new CEO. He will replace Stephen Cooper, who announced his plan to step down after eleven years in the role earlier this year.

There had been speculation that Kyncl would take up the WMG CEO role after it emerged last month that he was stepping down as YouTube’s Chief Business Officer after twelve years with the Google company. Then last week it was reported that he was indeed in talks with Warner.

“Robert is the right CEO to meet this moment”, says Len Blavatnik, Chair of Access Industries, the major’s biggest shareholder. “His command of technology to serve creativity will unlock new opportunities at scale for artists, songwriters and their teams. He sees over the horizon to find ways to make world-class entertainment accessible for all”.

“It would be difficult to overstate our gratitude to Steve for all his expertise and hard work”, he goes on. “He has done an exceptional job driving the company from decline to growth and spearheading its 2020 IPO. He has established a strong management team and culture, and his tenure at WMG will benefit the music ecosystem for years to come”.

Kyncl himself adds: “Music is an incredible creative force, with an unmatched ability to bring emotions, build communities and propel change. We’re just at the beginning of what’s possible in recognising music’s true power, value and reach. Thanks to Steve and his team, WMG is very well positioned for a future of serving artists and songwriters, as well as their fans”.

Name checking some of his new colleagues at Warner, he goes on: “I’m looking forward to partnering with Max [Lousada], Guy [Moot], Carianne [Marshall] and all of the company’s leadership, and I thank WMG’s board of directors, Len, and Steve, for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at this iconic company”.

Welcoming his replacement, Cooper comments: “Robert is a fantastic choice for CEO. He’s a hugely talented executive who’ll bring dynamic energy to WMG and the music entertainment business. He’ll have world-class partners in WMG’s senior management and global team”.

“I’m very proud of all we’ve accomplished together”, he adds, “attracting and nurturing amazing artists and songwriters, while leading the industry in the use of new technologies and the expansion into emerging markets. After a smooth handover with Robert is complete, I’m looking forward to becoming a full-time fan of the best team in the business”.

That kind of suggests he’s only a part-time fan of the company he leads at the moment. He’ll have to wait a little bit before he can enjoy going full-time in terms of his WMG fandom, though.

As of 1 Jan 2023, he and Kyncl will become co-CEOs of the company. There will then be a transition period that will stretch all the way – for a whole full month – to 31 Jan. Then, once February comes around, Kyncl will get the CEO desk all to himself. He’ll also take up Cooper’s seat on the board of directors.