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Warner Bros announces Cameron Strang replacements

By | Published on Wednesday 4 October 2017

Warner Bros Records

With Max Lousada now in charge of Warner Music’s global recordings business, here come some executive rejigs Stateside. The American wing of the Warner Bros label is getting a new boss. Actually, it is getting two new bosses. Double the fun.

The mini-major yesterday announced Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson as the new co-Chairs of Warner Bros US, with the former also being CEO and the latter having the second job title of COO. Both report in to Lousada, and take over from current Warner Bros Chair/CEO Cameron Strang, who will step down at the end of the year.

Bay-Schuck will join from Universal’s Interscope Geffen A&M, where he is currently President of A&R. Corson joins from Sony’s RCA Music Group, where he has been President and COO since 2011. That’s some excellent poaching from rivals there, top marks. Although in the case of Bay-Schuck, it’s poaching back, he having spent a decade at Warner’s Atlantic label before jumping ship to Universal.

Announcing the new hires, Lousada says: “At WMG, we’re building a creative and entrepreneurial environment where artists can change culture and make music that matters. Tom and Aaron don’t just share our ambition; they both have it in their DNA. That’s why they’ll be such an inspiring duo at WBR, which is always strongest when it’s at its most daring and unexpected”.

How the hell did WBR’s ambition get into their DNA? Did they have to have an operation? Seems like a bit of a drastic step in order to get a new job.

Anyway, Lousada goes on: “At the cutting edge of a new generation of leaders, Aaron has impeccable taste and a rare ability to help distinctive artists grow into global superstars. Equally, Tom has a super-driven, imaginative approach to championing talent and mentoring executives, as well as a wealth of experience at both major and indie labels. They’re a dynamic combination that will bring in a fresh, new era at one of the greatest record labels of all time”.

So that’s a lot of nice things said about the new guys. What about the departing Cameron Strang? Well, Lousada had this to say: “Cameron has guided WBR through a period of unprecedented change and has added to the label’s remarkable musical legacy. He will leave with our gratitude and utmost respect”.

Not quite so glowing, but fine. Do those new guys have thoughts too? You bet they do.

Look, here are some words that Aaron Bay-Shuck said: “I must first and foremost say thank you to the artists who have trusted me, to the songwriters and producers who have delivered time and time again, to the publishers who have sent me their best songs, and to the managers and lawyers who have made me your first call. You all are the reason I am in this position”.

He forgot to thank his mum and God there. Let’s see if there are any more thank yous in the rest of his statement: “I am unbelievably excited to lead Warner Bros Records, in partnership with the one and only Tom Corson, into its rightful place as the most vibrant, diverse, forward-thinking, and artist-friendly music company on the planet. Lastly, I’d like to thank Max for his vision, trust, and for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity”.

I don’t think Max Lousada is his mum or God, but the full investigation on that isn’t quite finished.

Meanwhile, Tom Corson chips in: “I’ve long been in awe of the extraordinary lineage of artists and executives that are part of the Warner Bros story, and I’m excited to join this legendary label at a time when our business is more dynamic than ever, creatively and commercially. Aaron is a world-class talent, and our partnership will be based on a joint commitment to build lasting careers for extraordinary artists that shape the popular zeitgeist. I’m looking forward to heading back to the West Coast and working with Max and Aaron to bring WBR, its artists and its team to new heights. Max has an inspirational vision and I want to thank him for opening the door to this new journey”.

Right, so everyone’s really bloody happy about everything, so that’s good. Not one of them said they were THRILLED though, which is weirdly something of a disappointment.

That’s not all the rejigging to be done though, so there’s still time for something THRILLing to occur. With Strang stepping down, that also leaves a space open on the Warner Music Group board of directors. Who will get the spot? It’ll be a tough competition. Well, actually, less so, because positions on the top table have been increased from eleven to thirteen.

One of those positions has actually already been filled, in fact. Economist Noreena Hertz rejoined the board last month. Who else then? Well, let’s get Max Lousada in there, eh. And if he’s going to be on the board, why not Warner/Chappell CEO Jon Platt? In fact, why wasn’t he there already? Seems like a bit of an oversight.

The owner of Warner Music, that’ll be Len Blavatnik, says of the new board appointments: “As the creative leaders of WMG’s two major divisions, Max and Jon are excellent additions to our board. I am also pleased to welcome Noreena back onto the Board, joining an impressive group of experts across business, technology, entertainment and media. I, along with Steve and the other directors, would like to thank Cameron Strang for his service on the Board; we are deeply appreciative of his many contributions”.

That Steve mentioned there is WMG CEO Steve Cooper, who also adds: “I am very pleased to welcome these three leaders to our Board of Directors. With Max now bringing his entrepreneurial vision to our entire Recorded Music operation, and Jon leading Warner/Chappell to new heights around the world, they will bring invaluable insight to our board. I’m also delighted that we’ll once again draw on Noreena’s unique global perspective and experience, which were so welcome during her previous tenure”.

So, no one was THRILLED in the end, but everyone was very chirpy. Who knew being an executive at a major label could be so much fun?

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