(CelebrityAccess) — Veteran A&R executive Darcus Beese OBE, has signed on with Warner UK in a newly created dual role as EVP, WMUK and President of a new joint venture record label.
As a member of WMUK’s senior leadership team, he will report into WMUK CEO Tony Harlow and collaborate with WMUK label presidents on the company’s approach to A&R.
Beese, who most recently served as President and CEO of Island Records US, brings decades of relevant experience in the label industry to his new role, having played a significant role in the recording careers of artists such as Amy Winehouse, Dizzee Rascal, Jessie J and Florence and the Machine.
Beese got his start at Island in 1989 as an intern in the label’s promotion team before he moved into A&R in his own right. During his tenure at Island, he served as A&R Director, then Co-President of the label in 2008, and President in 2013.
In 2018, Beese relocated to the U.S. for a stint as President & CEO before stepping away for a brief hiatus in 2021.
In 2014, Beese was honored with an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the UK music industry.
“For the entire time I’ve been in the music business I’ve heard about Darcus as a truly great music man – a person who heard great music in every and any genre and could care and nurture artists to bring the best out of them. Darcus was a talent who could actually add to the legacy of a label as great as Island Records and who understood that labels need to build a culture both musically and of success. Darcus would sign smashes and then balance them with important records that needed to be made and voices that needed to be heard. I couldn’t be more pleased to have persuaded him to join us at Warner Music as he embodies so much of what we stand for and what we want to stand for. He’s going to help me shape the future of Warner Music and help us by bringing compelling, urgent music to us through his label,” said Tony Harlow.
“Working at Island for as long as I did, I was never going to be comfortable working for another label. Talking to Max and Tony crystallized that the natural next step for me was to head up my own label while still being part of a broader record company leadership team. I’ve known Max, Tony, and the team for a long time, and their commitment to building a community that inspires and supports its artists is very much in line with my own philosophy, so I couldn’t be more pleased to be taking this next step with Warner Music. I’m looking forward to working together to create a label that puts artists at its heart, moves the cultural needle, and delivers music that stands the test of time. I want to thank Max and Tony for this wonderful new opportunity,” added Darcus Beese.
WMUK plans to release details on the new joint venture label in the coming weeks, the company said.