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News September 29, 2022

Michael Taylor Exits Universal Music Australia

Executive Editor, B2B & Print
Michael Taylor Exits Universal Music Australia

One of Australia’s most successful A&R executives, Michael Taylor, has revealed plans to leave his post as managing director of Universal Music Australia.

He is the third high-profile leader to walk away from the company this year.

TMN understands Taylor informed staffers on Thursday afternoon, revealing he will exit the business for personal reasons and to dedicate more time to ongoing treatments. However, he will remain an A&R consultant on select projects.

On July 7, UMA announced the promotion of Nicole Richards to joint managing director, alongside Taylor. Prior to joining UMA, Richards spent six years at EMI and Virgin Records in Australia. She will now lead the Island team, solo.

“I depart my position leaving Island Records Australia in the very talented, experienced, and capable hands of Nicole Richards, who will oversee all facets of the label, driving Island artists forward for success,” Taylor emailed employees.

“Nicole and I have worked together for many years, and I know her intense passion for success and love for our Island artists is unwavering.

“She’s a true leader in the business.”

Taylor, a widely respected leader in the Australian music industry, joined UMA in 2007 from Epic Records in New York as the founding general manager and head of UMA imprint, Island Records Australia. He also previously worked for Sony Music in Australia where he A&R’d Delta Goodrem’s multi-Platinum “Innocent Eyes” album.

He has been instrumental in growing the major’s domestic roster, signing a long list of homegrown superstars including Hilltop Hoods, Havana Brown, Baker Boy, Briggs, Clare Bowditch, Shane Nicholson, The McClymonts and Dean Lewis.

“I believe Island Records Australia has become that label and the future is very exciting for the artists on Island,” Taylor added.

“The label continues to embrace that ethos.

“I would like to thank George, Nicole and all those who I have worked closely with over the past 15 years, and most of all, the artists and managers.”

Pictured: Michael Taylor. Photographer: Daniel Boud.

Taylor’s exit comes amid a period of upheaval and a renewed focus on cultural change at the Australian branch of the world’s biggest record company.

Thursday’s announcement follows the departure of UMA’s joint managing director Darren Aboud in July, and the retirement of EMI Music Australia’s managing director, John O’Donnell. O’Donnell’s last day is Friday (September 30).

UMA president George Ash thanked Taylor for his contribution, and for his integral role in growing Island into “the powerhouse label” that it is today.

“[Taylor’s] vision and belief in our artists helped unearth and break countless new Australian talents, build careers, and deliver great critical and commercial success over the past fifteen years,” Ash said.

“I look forward to continuing to work with him as a consultant on projects in the future and wish him and his family the very best health and happiness.”

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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
July 25, 2022: Universal Music’s Global HR Boss, Eric Hutcherson, Back in Australia (EXCLUSIVE)

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