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Lyor Cohen Leaves Def Jam
January 28, 2004


Thanks to the promise of an equity stake in the company, Warner Music Group has successfully wooed Island Def Jam head Lyor Cohen to become chairman and CEO of the company once its acquisition is finalized. According to published reports, Cohen turned down a five-year deal valued at $50 million to stay at Universal/Island.

In a statement released announcing the deal, Edgar Bronfman, Jr. said that "Lyor Cohen's role in revolutionizing, transforming and challenging the music industry over the past two decades cannot be overestimated. As one of the most respected executives in the business, Lyor's in-depth experience and proven track record will play an invaluable role in WMG's efforts to become the world's greatest independent music company, and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for all of us with this great team."

"Lyor has been a driving force behind some of the industry's most successful artists, and his pioneering spirit is a welcome addition at WMG," said Warner Music Group chairman/CEO Roger Ames. "Lyor has been a driving force behind some of the industry's most successful artists, and his pioneering spirit is a welcome addition at WMG. His energy and legendary creative instincts will be instrumental in sustaining the momentum our U.S. labels have achieved over the past several years, enabling Edgar and me to focus on the future direction of Warner Music Group and the strategic growth of our operations on a global basis."

For his part, Cohen said that while he will miss his associates at Island Def Jam, " I am truly looking forward to working again with Edgar Bronfman, Jr. and Roger Ames. Both of these incredible executives at different stages in Def Jam's history believed in Russell and me and had the vision to see how important Def Jam would become."

Missing from the statement is exactly what role chairman/CEO Ames will have at the company, given Cohen's title. Rumors are already circulating that recently deposed Arista head L.A. Reid may wind up at Island Def Jam as Cohen's replacement.


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