Chairman & CEO
Universal Music Group
Sir Lucian Grainge is Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment.
Grainge has spent his entire career in the music industry and has signed and worked with many worldwide stars, including ABBA, Elton John, Jay Z, Katy Perry, Queen, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Sam Smith, U2 and Amy Winehouse, among many others. Over the span of three decades, 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 UK. 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, gaining oversight of global operations outside the U.S. Grainge was appointed CEO of UMG in 2010 and promoted in 2011 to Chairman and CEO. During his leadership, Grainge has dramatically improved the financial performance of UMG by significantly increasing the company’s revenues and profitability. 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 2016, 2015 and 2013, he topped Billboard Magazine’s “Power 100” as the most powerful executive in the music business, the only person to hold that distinction three times and for consecutive years. In 2016, Berklee College of Music presented Grainge with an honorary doctor of music degree, in 2015 he received the Spirit of Life Award from City of Hope and in 2014, he was awarded the President’s Merit Award by The Recording Academy. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Music Industry Trusts’ Award. A native of London, Sir Lucian was bestowed with a knighthood in 2016 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list for accomplishments in the music industry and leadership through its challenging times, contributions to British business and inward investment, as well as his development of innovative business models, technology and media partnerships that have expanded UMG’s global presence. 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 and in 2011 he was made an Officier des Arts et Lettres by the French Government. In 2013, UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed him as a British Business Ambassador. In 2011, he was named a Trustee of the American Friends of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Grainge serves on the boards of Lionsgate and Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.