BRISBANE, AUS (CelebrityAccess) – Universal Music Group Australia and New Zealand (UMG) (ANZ) received an email Monday (December 12) announcing that UMG’s President George Ash will be leaving the company.
TMN reports the internal memo is a move Ash has been planning “for a long time” and that he will leave at the end of the year. Ash has worked in the role for nearly ten years and saw him lead operations throughout the Asia Pacific region.
“I still have many areas of personal interest and passions that I want to explore,” Ash wrote. “Having been with the company for nearly three decades, the time feels right. I am so confident in and proud of the brilliant leadership team we have in place, as well as the positive changes we have made in the past couple of years, and I am excited to see the company, staff, labels, and artists continue to grow and thrive in the years ahead.
“My heartfelt thanks go to Sir Lucian Grainge for his incredible support and guidance and to Boyd Muir, with whom I have worked since the very beginning of my time at UMG. My adoration, respect and gratitude go to so many of my colleagues here in Australia, New Zealand and around the world.
“I have so many fond memories, favorite shows, and, most of all, friendships from my time here. After 35 years working in music, my love for it has not diminished, and I’m as excited for the future as I was back then, when I was working the night shift in the Polygram pressing plant in Wellington.
“My enduring thanks and admiration, George.”
The press release states the decision was part of “a long-planned personal decision to focus on new goals and projects while leaving the company under the leadership of a new generation of executives, who will continue to build on the legacy of creative and commercial success that has flourished during his tenure.”
Ash began his career in music in his native New Zealand. As a teenage musician, he played drums for a variety of bands. Following his time at Polygram’s vinyl pressing plant in Wellington – he held positions at various companies, including BMG NZ and PolyGram, before being tasked to set up MCA Geffen, Universal Music’s first operations in New Zealand in 1995. Ash relocated to Australia in 2001 to become Managing Director at UMA and was appointed as the company’s president in 2010.
The announcement comes after Ash announced an investigation into the company culture following several allegations directed at staff members. Ash himself apologized for his “insensitive” joke over a Zoom meeting. At the time, he said,
“It was insensitive – and that went through the appropriate processes, and I apologized to everyone in the company who was impacted by it.”
This morning UMG appointed a new President for its business in ANZ to replace Ash at the end of the year. The new President, taking over January 1, 2023, is Sean Warner, who has had various roles at the label since joining in 2007 as a National Sales Manager. He currently holds the title of Senior Vice President (SVP), Commercial.
UMG said its incoming President “led the company’s commercial business over the past fifteen years, from physical sales to the streaming era, in addition to overseeing the commercial strategy in Southeast Asia, launching Bravado’s merchandise and licensing operations in the Australia and New Zealand region, and developing UMA’s e-commerce business.”
It is an honor and a privilege to take on this role as President of Universal Music Australia and New Zealand. As the region’s leading music company, we will continue to innovate and evolve our businesses and support our artists and labels as they deliver the very best music and culture to fans. – Sean Warner
Lucian Grainge adds: “Sean’s deep understanding of the Australian market combined with his operational experience and the respect he has earned from his UMG colleagues and artists – both domestic and international – makes him the ideal executive to take on the role of President. I’m confident he will expand our track record of creative and commercial success in a market that so culturally important”.