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exclusive News June 22, 2022

Universal Music’s Global HR Boss, Eric Hutcherson, Arrives in Australia Amid Culture Crisis (EXCLUSIVE)

Universal Music’s Global HR Boss, Eric Hutcherson, Arrives in Australia Amid Culture Crisis (EXCLUSIVE)

One of Universal Music Group’s highest-ranking executives has made the 15-hour journey from the U.S. to Australia as the major label grapples with a culture crisis.

It is understood that UMG’s executive vice president and chief people and inclusion officer, Eric Hutcherson, touched down in Sydney today. He is expected to address staff during his visit and will remain in the country at least until the weekend, if not longer.

Hutcherson’s arrival comes three days after TMN first reported that a second investigation into alleged workplace misconduct at its Australian headquarters is currently underway.

He joined the world’s largest record company in 2020 from the NBA, where he led human resources for the sporting giant. Hutcherson currently sits on UMG’s executive management board and reports directly to global chairman and CEO, Sir Lucian Grainge.

Universal Music Australia is currently without a head of people and culture following the departure of Janine Ashton last year, and her replacement Tom Dale who left after ten months.

A spokesperson for the major said a new, local executive has been appointed to the role but was unable to confirm when they would officially step into the position.

It is understood Hutcherson is leading the fresh probe into at least two misconduct complaints.

It follows an external investigation last year – first reported by the Sydney Moring Herald’s Nathanael Cooper – into multiple claims of workplace bullying, harassment, racism, homophobia, discrimination, and more serious sexual assault allegations.

Pictured: UMA president, George Ash

As first reported by TMN on June 9, UMA announced a workplace Task Force program to help improve its culture. In a staff memo, Australian president George Ash acknowledged that the company “has some relics from the past” that “need to be addressed to move forward.”

TMN understands the introduction of the Task Force — led by Ash and made up of leaders and staffers with an equal gender split, along with a new Culture Council consisting of members from UMA’s wider leadership team — followed an employee survey about five weeks ago.

Filled out anonymously, sources privy to the findings said the results found that more than 80% of employees don’t trust some senior leaders within UMA’s top ranks. The findings were not shared at a planned staff meeting on June 10, despite being told that they would be.

A UMG spokesperson did tell TMN that the conclusions of the culture survey would likely be shared at the company’s next town hall, which is scheduled to take place this Friday.

This is a developing story. Know something we don’t? Email any tips to [email protected] or contact the writers directly.

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

August 9, 2021: Universal Music Australia Launches Workplace Culture Investigation
October 6, 2022: 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)

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