Universal Music Group picks new team to oversee its business in Africa

Universal Music Group picks new team to oversee its business in Africa


World leading record company Universal Music Group (UMG) has strengthened further its position in the industry as a force in Africa by appointing an expansion team to oversee its business Sub-Saharan Africa.

These appointments underscore UMG’s ongoing support for Africa’s domestic music ecosystems, while also creating new opportunities for African talent to reach new audiences globally.

UMG’s holistic approach to expanding operations across the continent, opening new divisions in Nigeria, as well as becoming the first major music company to establish branches in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon and Morocco to complement the record company’s longstanding operations in South Africa.

This presence will continue to grow throughout 2021 and beyond as UMG extends further the company’s ability to support local artistes across Africa and globally.

To anchor the expansion, Sipho Dlamini was promoted to chief executive of Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Dlamini will continue to oversee all of UMG’s operations within English-speaking Africa.

Since joining UMG in 2016, Mr Dlamini has been instrumental in solidifying and growing UMG’s African infrastructure, increasing the visibility of African music around the world and delivering unprecedented artist success in South Africa.

During this time, UMG has also led the industry with new initiatives across live music, brand partnerships and the adoption of licensed and legal streaming platforms within Africa.

Dlamini is a member of UMG’s taskforce for meaningful change that was created last year as a driving force for inclusion and social justice within the global music industry and serves as chair for the TFMC’s Global Committee.

In 2019, Dlamini was named in Billboard’s International Music Power list, the first African-based executive to make their list.

In his new role, Dlamini is expected to continue working closely with UMG market development officer Adam Granite to identify further opportunities for artists signed to Universal Music Africa to reach new audiences around the world.

He will also develop further UMG’s global networks of industry-leading businesses with a presence in more than 60 countries worldwide.

Within South Africa, Dlamini will work with experienced senior executive Elouise Kelly, who will serve as chief operating officer of Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, based in Johannesburg.

Ms Kelly Joins UMG from global advertising and media agency Ogilvy, where she was managing director, South Africa. With a proven and award-winning background in branding, marketing, communication and commercial business strategy, she will play an integral role in the further expansion of Universal Music Africa.

Prior to working at Ogilvy, Kelly held senior positions at SABC, Top TV, Viacom International Media Networks and M-Net.

Chinedu Okeke has been named managing director of Universal Music Nigeria and will lead the development and expansion of UMG’s existing operations within Nigeria, and further English-speaking markets in West Africa. He will be based in Lagos, Nigeria and will report to Dlamini. Okeke joins UMG having established himself over the last decade, as a successful business and live-music entrepreneur.

Announcing the changes, Adam Granite said, “I am thrilled to announce these strategic appointments, as we look to further develop our domestic infrastructure and label rosters within Africa. Most integral to achieving our long-term ambitions, is to build a strong leadership team on the ground, with deep foundations in each country to help grow a dynamic ecosystem for all to benefit in the future.

“Over the past few years, Sipho has shown great leadership, commitment and vision for music in Africa, helping UMG to introduce new talent to audiences around the world and identify opportunities to lead the industry in licensing and supporting new platforms to reach African music fans. Elouise and Chin both bring welcome new skills, proven entrepreneurship and important leadership experience that will only serve to bolster UMG’s position as the market-leader across Africa,” said Granite.

In response, Sipho Dlamini said, “There has never been a more exciting time for African music around the world, as it continues to influence and inspire culture and creativity, whilst reaching a wider audience globally each day through streaming. I am delighted to welcome both Elouise and Chin to the UMG family, their unique skills and experiences will only help to further establish UMG as a bedrock within the African music community, that will continue to put the interests and opportunities for artists first and help elevate African talent to new levels of success at home and abroad.”

  • A Tell report/jk
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