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News July 7, 2022

Universal Music Reveals Leadership Changes, John O’Donnell Retires

Executive Editor, B2B & Print
Universal Music Reveals Leadership Changes, John O’Donnell Retires
Pictured: John O’Donnell, EMI Music Australia's managing director

Widely-respected music executive John O’Donnell has announced his retirement and will exit his post as managing director of EMI Music Australia on September 30, TMN can confirm.

The change is one of many unveiled by Universal Music Group on Thursday.

Mark Holland succeeds O’Donnell as managing director of EMI, and Alicia Reynolds has been promoted to the role of general manager. EMI is home to a number of homegrown stars including Keith Urban, Troye Sivan and Meg Mac.

UMG said the changes announced today within the EMI team are part of a succession plan developed by O’Donnell and UMA president George Ash.

O’Donnell said he “couldn’t be happier” for Holland, Reynolds and the EMI roster.

“Having led this great label for the past two decades, I could not be prouder of all that we accomplished,” O’Donnell said. ” Now, after two years working diligently towards a succession plan to lead the label into a new era, I am excited to hand the reins of EMI Australia over to Mark Holland and Alicia Reynolds.

“Mark is a dynamic, next-generation executive with huge success in A&R, who will lead the label into a fantastic new era, while Alicia is an industry-respected executive that always motivates our artists and team with her passion, belief and tenacity to succeed across every project,” he added.

Over at Island Record Australia, Nicole Richards has been elevated to joint managing director – effective immediately – alongside Michael Taylor. Prior to joining UMA, Richards spent six years at EMI and Virgin Records Australia. Among the star acts on the Island roster are Tame Impala, Vera Blue, Hilltop Hoods, and The McClymonts.

Across the broader UMA team, Alisa Lai becomes head of commercial growth & innovation, Fiona Zamparutti becomes senior director of streaming, and Liam Dennis becomes general manager of the major’s booming catalogue business.

As the Australian headquarters of the world’s largest record company grapples with a culture crisis, UMG has also announced the appointment of Yvette Cachia as SVP of people, inclusion & culture. Cachia starts on August 22.

Thursday’s announcement follows the exit of UMA’s joint managing director, Darren Aboud.

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How did we get here? A timeline of Universal Music Australia’s Culture Reset:

August 9, 2021: Universal Music Australia Launches Workplace Culture Investigation
October 6, 2021: Ben Facey Out of Universal Music
June 9, 2022: UMA Launches Culture Task Force: Read The Internal Memo (EXCLUSIVE)
June 20, 2022: Universal Music Australia Faces Fresh Workplace Misconduct Investigation (EXCLUSIVE)
June 22, 2022: Universal Music’s Global HR Boss, Eric Hutcherson, Arrives in Australia Amid Culture Crisis (EXCLUSIVE)
July 6, 2022: Darren Aboud Exits Universal Music Australia (EXCLUSIVE)
July 7, 2022: Universal Music Reveals Leadership Changes, John O’Donnell Retires

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