Music, Film and Entertainment Industries Spirit of Life® Award Celebration Dinner
LUCIAN GRAINGE CBE
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Music Group
Lucian Grainge CBE is chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Group. Grainge has spent his entire career in the music industry and has signed and worked with many worldwide stars, including ABBA, Jay Z, Elton John, Katy Perry, Queen, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Sam Smith and U2, among many others. Over the span of a quarter century, he has not only pioneered new approaches to the signing and development of the world’s most successful recording artists and songwriters but he has consistently championed the development of innovative business models and partnerships with a wide range of technology and media partners around the world.
His inspiring leadership has been recognized as having laid the foundation for a return to growth in recent years of an industry that had been suffering more than a decade of decline.
Grainge joined Universal Music in 1986 to launch PolyGram Music Publishing UK. Within five years, he had led the fledgling division to become one of the top three publishing companies in the U.K. Grainge joined UMG’s Polydor in 1993 as general manager of A&R and Business Affairs, rising to managing director of the British record label in 1997. He was subsequently appointed deputy chairman, and then, in 2001, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music UK. In 2005, he was named chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group International before assuming his current position in 2011. In 2011, he led UMG’s successful acquisition of the recorded music assets of the legendary British music company EMI, revitalizing its iconic Capitol Records, and, in the process, further strengthening UMG’s position as the global leader in music. Under his leadership, the company set numerous creative records including being the first music company with nine of the top 10 songs on Billboard’s Digital Songs chart and the first music company to score all 10 of the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100.
Grainge has been recognized for his many achievements throughout the years. In 2013 and 2015, he topped Billboard Magazine’s “Power 100” as the most powerful executive in the music business, the only person to twice hold that distinction. In 2014, he was awarded the President’s Merit Award by The Recording Academy. For his service to global creative industries, he was recognized in Britain’s New Years Honors and awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2010. In 2012, UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed him as a British Business Ambassador.
Grainge serves on the boards of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and Northeastern University in Boston.