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Lyor Cohen Stepping Down as Warner Music Chairman/CEO

Lyor Cohen, Chairman/CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group, is stepping down from his post effective September 30, the company announced today. He had been at Warner since 2004, beginning as Chairman and CEO, US Recorded Music in March of that year.

Former EMI CEO Roger Faxon — who just stepped down from that role Friday, in the wake of Universal Music’s acquisition of the company clearing the EU and FTC — has long been rumored to take over the helm at Warner.

As Chairman/CEO of Recorded Music for WMG, Cohen’s role included oversight of the company’s U.S. label groups – The Atlantic Records Group and Warner Bros. Records — WEA Corp., the company’s sales, marketing and retail distribution company; and Rhino Entertainment, WMG’s catalog-marketing division. He is also a member of WMG’s Board of Directors. Cohen joined the company shortly after Time Warner’s sale of WMG to an investor group led by Edgar Bronfman, Jr

In making the announcement, Cohen said, “To all the artists and employees who live and die for the music every day, and who personally sacrifice for the good of the creative process: ‘keep on keepin’ on’ in the tradition of a company that respects and honors the artistic community.”

Len Blavatnik, Chairman and founder of Access Industries, said, “I personally want to thank Lyor for his dedication and contributions to Warner Music.  He has been both a business partner and personal friend and I wish him only the best.”

Stephen Cooper, WMG’s CEO, said, “Lyor Cohen has built something very special here.  While we understand his desire to move on to his next challenge, the enduring success of our recorded music division will serve as a great testament to the progress we’ve made during Lyor’s time at WMG.  We are grateful for Lyor’s contributions, and we wish him the best.  I’m confident that given the strength of our talented management team in Recorded Music, we’ll be able to drive further success.”

Following Cohen’s departure, the company’s senior label executives will report directly to Stephen Cooper.

Cohen rose to prominence in the mid-1980s as an artist manager at Rush Communications — where he worked extensively with Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and others — and as President of Def Jam Records, a role he took in 1988.