Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, announced that it has appointed Jody Gerson as Chairman and CEO of the company’s music publishing division, Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), effective January 1, 2015. Gerson, who currently serves as Co-President of Sony/ATV Publishing, will be based at UMPG’s headquarters in Santa Monica, CA and will report to UMG Chairman and CEO, Lucian Grainge. She will succeed Zach Horowitz who, after leading UMPG to achieve strong creative and commercial results, has decided to step down effective immediately to explore other opportunities.
In making the announcement, Grainge said, “Jody Gerson is simply one of the best music publishers in the business, and we are thrilled that she will be bringing her creativity, savvy and vast experience to UMPG. Jody represents a new breed of music industry leadership, with a keen understanding of the evolving role of music publishers in the digital era and a track record of artist successes that places her among all-time greats. I’m excited for what we will accomplish together.”
Grainge continued, “On behalf of everyone at the company, let me extend our profound gratitude to Zach for his adept stewardship of UMPG and his decades of service to UMG. His versatility as an executive and leader is extremely rare and we wish him only the best.”
Gerson was appointed to her current role of Co-President for Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 2008. Her first signing at Sony/ATV was then unknown singer/songwriter Lady Gaga who soon after became one of the most successful artists in the world. Gerson has also played an instrumental role in the careers of Enrique Iglesias, Mac Miller, Pitbull, RedOne, Shakira and Pharrell Williams, among others. Another one of her signings, Nasri Atweh, the lead singer and primary songwriter for the band Magic!, currently has the No. 1 single (“Rude”) on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the second week in a row.
Gerson began her publishing career at Chappell music (the predecessor to Warner/Chappell) where she worked with numerous songwriters and recording artists including Bernie Taupin, R.E.M. and Rod Stewart. After six years at Chappell, Gerson joined EMI as head of the company’s east coast publishing division.
After successfully managing the east coast operations, in 1991, Gerson was tasked with revitalizing EMI’s west coast division. It was there that she assembled a roster of some of the most critically-acclaimed and successful writers in music including Jermaine Dupri and Dallas Austin who went on to write and produce songs for Janet Jackson, Madonna, Usher, Mariah Carey, and TLC, among many others. In 1996, Gerson signed a 15 year-old artist named Alicia Keys. Keys’ first album Songs in a Minor was a worldwide hit, winning five Grammy Awards in 2002, including “Best New Artist” and “Song of the Year,” and selling more than 10 million albums worldwide. Also that year, Gerson signed Norah Jones, and in 2003, Jones earned five Grammy Awards for her album Come Away with Me.
Additionally, Gerson served as a producer of the successful films Drumline and ATL. She is currently serving as executive producer for Drumline 2 for VH1.