Universal Music U.K. has appointed media and tech exec Simon Johnson to the newly created role of managing director of strategy, growth and e-commerce.
The music label said the new post signals Universal Music U.K.’s “ambition to supercharge and open up new commercial opportunities for its artists.” Johnson will take up the new post on Monday, reporting to chairman and CEO David Joseph.
Johnson, a trained mathematician who joins from Amazon, will focus on delivering growth via strategy building, capabilities and new business. He will be responsible for driving the company’s e-commerce strategy and will work with Universal Music Group’s (UMG) recently appointed president of global e-commerce and business development Richelle Parham. Building on Universal Music U.K.’s portfolio of online stores, the duo plan to create new commercial opportunities for the company’s artists and labels via “global strategic initiatives.”
Johnson will also focus on customer engagement, community retail and enhancing analytics as well as developing new direct to consumer platforms alongside Universal Music U.K.’s existing stores. He will work with president David Hawkes on exploring new retail opportunities, including interactive and shoppable experiences.
Johnson spent six years at Amazon, where he worked in leadership roles across Europe, overseeing books and Kindle and leading Marketplace in the U.K., among other responsibilities. Prior to Amazon, he spent eight years at HarperCollins as group managing director for the U.K. and international.
Universal Music U.K. chairman and CEO David Joseph said: “Simon brings his strategic vision alongside incredible experience in management, retail, data and analytics to this new role, but above all he is a creative and innovative thinker who shares our belief in the huge potential for e-commerce and finding authentic new ways for our artists to build their markets and audiences.”
“Ever since I fell head over heels in love with music as a young child who stumbled on the magic of ‘Revolver’ in my parents’ record collection, it’s been my dream to work on helping artists be more successful and bringing them closer to their fans,” says Johnson. “Universal Music Group is home to without doubt the greatest set of artists and catalogue in the world. I can’t wait to get started in playing a role to help fans like me find and express joy and purpose through these wonderful artists and the power of music.”
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