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Warner Music talking to departing YouTube Chief Business Officer about its CEO role

By | Published on Tuesday 20 September 2022

Warner Music

Warner Music is talking to departing YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl about him becoming CEO of the major, taking over from current chief Stephen Cooper, who has headed up the music company since 2011 but announced he was standing down back in June.

It emerged last month that Kyncl was departing his YouTube role after twelve years with the Google company. Some immediately speculated that he might move over to the Warner Music top job, although others questioned whether that would be of interest to Kyncl, with some suggesting that he would likely be more interested in something entrepreneurial.

However, according to Bloomberg, reps for the Warner Music board have indeed been speaking to Kyncl about him taking over from Cooper. That said, he’s not the only person being considered, Bloomberg adds, with its sources also saying that Sirius XM exec Scott Greenstein and Universal Music Publishing chief Jody Gerson are among those being considered.

If Warner were to go for an internal candidate, Max Lousada, who heads up the major’s recordings business, seems the most likely contender. And, indeed, some reckon that Lousada is a sufficiently strong contender that it’s unlikely the board would opt for another senior exec from within the music industry. But they might go for another senior exec from outside the music industry.

Because, after all, Cooper was not a music industry man when he was appointed CEO by Len Blavatnik, the Access Industries chief who had just bought the major when Cooper took on that role in 2011.

And, sources say, Blavatnik – still the biggest shareholder – is interested in hiring another person from outside the music business, and especially someone with a tech background. But, obviously, a tech person who also understands the music and wider entertainment industries would be particularly good, hence Kyncl, who worked at Netflix before his long stint at YouTube.

It remains to be seen if Blavatnik and Warner Music Chair Michael Lynton can convince the outgoing YouTube exec that the CEO role they are trying to fill is a sufficient step up in his career.