Music News

Warner Music UK hires Abbey Road chief as part of major reshuffle

Warner Music UK has announced a raft of strategic internal changes, with Abbey Road managing director Isobel Garvey joining as COO, as well as several other high profile promotions, arrivals, and departures.

The reshuffle is designed to allow the company to ‘evolve into the future’, according to Warner Music UK CEO Tony Harlow, with Abbey Road managing director Garvey taking on the newly created role of chief operating officer on May 9.

There is also a leadership change at Parlophone Records, with Jennifer Ivory, who is currently SVP of Warner Records UK, taking over the label as managing director. As part of the changes, Parlophone co-presidents Nick Burgess, Mark ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, and recently appointed general manager Jack Melhuish will all leave the label. Melhuish was only appointed the role of general manager last month (February 2023).

"This is an exciting new phase for WMUK,” said Harlow. “Isabel’s appointment signals our constant evolution, bringing her widely admired creativity, innovation and technological entrepreneurship to the service of our artists and their visions. Jen has been with us for over 14 years and has grown into one of the most exceptional and influential voices at WMUK and one of our best marketeers. She supervised four Number One albums last year alone. Under her leadership, Parlophone’s employees will be dedicated to signing and developing the next generation of outstanding talent.

"I'd like to thank Nick and Mitch for an outstanding job at Parlophone," Harlow added. "They've been strong and thoughtful leaders in difficult times and, in partnership with Jack, have had a real impact that has been vital for Parlophone's growth. We wish them well in their future adventures."

Parlophone will also join Warner Records UK, Roadrunner, FFRR and Elektra Entertainment in a newly created coalition of labels, which will sit under the overall guidance of Warner Records UK President, Joe Kentish. Within the new structure, Ivory, Kentish and recently appointed managing director of Warner Records UK, Alex Burford, can strategically plan and boost both labels as part of the collaborative group. Parlophone will maintain independent A&R and marketing functions but will draw on a centralised team of experts and adopt a ‘shared service approach’ to the other key functions.

Parlophone’s employees will be dedicated to signing and developing the next generation of talent. Tony Harlow, CEO, Warner Music UK

“In the modern, rapidly evolving digital business, we're always pushing for the most agile and forward-thinking ways to super-serve our talent,” Harlow continued. “The market is increasingly fragmented, and it takes more expertise to service all channels and to serve them properly. Our artists need more specialists to explore every available opportunity", adds Harlow. "With Parlophone and Warner Records UK coming together and drawing on the expertise of our new centralised coalition, we will harness our collective firepower and lean on a wide range of proficient minds to take the company forward.”

Commenting on her new role, Garvey said: “I am delighted to be re-joining the Warner Music family at a time when WMUK is positioning itself towards an exciting and innovative future. The industry is more challenging and yet full of opportunity than ever, and I look forward to working with Tony, the dynamic executive team and the brilliant roster of artists to grow the business further.”

Ivory also spoke about her own new role: "Ever since I was young, the Parlophone label, its artists and its records have played such an important role in my life. Growing up I always saw them as the north star of British music culture. I'm honoured to have a part in taking this iconic British label into a successful future. I have built my career on a foundation of great relationships with artists, and I'm pleased that in my new role, I can continue guiding the campaigns of Warner Records artists I've supported, like Biffy Clyro, Foals, Liam Gallagher, Muse and Royal Blood."

Furthermore, the new label coalition includes the promotion of Claire Coster, who is promoted to a centralised director of publicity post, overseeing all talent press across WMUK. In addition, Jane Arthy is promoted to SVP of promotions, Sebastian Simone will continue his work in Web3 and the metaverse as VP of community, and Theresa Adebiyi also joins as creative director. All three, and their teams, will work across Parlophone and Warner Records UK.