Universal Music Group has announced the promotion of Will Tanous to Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, effective immediately. He will continue to serve as a member of the company’s executive management board.
In his new position, Tanous, who will continue to report to UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, will retain his current responsibilities and add new ones involving several major strategic and corporate endeavors. While his previous title was EVP of communications — and his stature in that area is evidenced by the fact that the current heads of corporate communications at the two other major labels both worked under him at Warner Music — Tanous quickly became a key strategic adviser to Grainge, and as Universal, the world’s largest music company, moves toward an IPO expected next year, his experience is sure to prove invaluable.
In making the announcement, UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge said, “Will Tanous is one of the most strategic, multi-talented executives in the music business today — he’s my proverbial ‘Swiss Army’ knife. This formal expansion of the scope of Will’s responsibilities acknowledges what has been firmly in place for some time: his wide-ranging role in the day-to day executive management of our global organization, as well as his contributions to our long-term growth strategy. I’m thrilled that he will be right by my side as we write the next exciting chapter in the history of UMG.”
Tanous said, “I am reminded every day of how privileged I am to be working alongside the most passionate and accomplished executives in the music industry on behalf of the world’s most talented artists. Sir Lucian’s consistent and artist-centered vision combined with his innovative and entrepreneurial approach have revolutionized the music industry and propelled UMG to an extraordinary level of artistic and commercial success. I am honored by his faith in me and can’t wait to see all we will accomplish in the years to come under his leadership.”
Tanous joined UMG in 2013 as EVP of communications, managing worldwide communications for UMG’s operations across more than 60 territories, and overseeing public policy and government relations, investor relations, special projects and events, and corporate social responsibility. Soon after, Grainge appointed him to the company’s Executive Management Board, where he plays a central role in the development of UMG’s business strategy.
Immediately prior to UMG, Tanous served as EVP of communications & marketing for Warner Music Group. In his more than two decades with that company, Tanous designed and implemented business and communications strategies for all of the company’s major corporate endeavors, including the 2011 sale of WMG to Access Industries, WMG’s initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005, and the sale of WMG by Time Warner Inc. in 2003 to a private equity consortium.
A Lebanese-American, Tanous was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2019, presented annually to U.S. citizens “who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life.”