Don Ienner Named Chairman/CEO, Sony Music Label Group, U.S.
April 13, 2006
Don Ienner has been named Chairman of Sony Music Label Group U.S., in addition to his existing responsibilities as Sony Music Label Group, U.S CEO and will report directly to Sony BMG Music Entertainment CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz.
Ienner will oversee all activities of the labels and divisions within the Sony Music Label Group, including Columbia Records Group, Epic Records, Sony Music Nashville and Sony Urban Music. He will also work closely with the company's senior management team in developing and implementing strategic initiatives relating to a wide array of areas, including Legacy Recordings, RED Distribution and Sony Wonder.
"Don Ienner is known throughout the industry for both his fierce devotion to his artists, and for his uncompromising dedication to excellence," said Schmidt-Holtz. "During his eighteen years with Sony Music, he has played a central role in the success of countless numbers of artists and projects, and as the leader of the Sony Music Label Group has shown himself to be an executive of enormous talent, making it a true pleasure to announce this well deserved promotion."
"I'd like to thank Rolf for this honor, and I look forward to working closely with him as we continue to develop the very best new artists, and build our business overall," said Ienner. "I'd also like to express my gratitude to the many talented people within the Sony Music Label Group who have made our success possible. From employees at every part of the Group, to our President/COO Michele Anthony, Columbia's Steve Barnett, Epic's Charlie Walk, Sony Urban's Lisa Ellis and Nashville's John Grady, our artists benefit every day from the great work being done by what I firmly believe is the best team in the business. With the undeniable strength of this team we're in a great position to give our artists the support they need to meet their goals, to continue to build the legacy of the Sony Music Label Group, and to hit our financial targets."
Ienner was named CEO of Sony Music Label Group, U.S. in 2004, adding this title to that of President/Sony Music Label Group, U.S., which he'd held since April 2003. In December of 2005 he oversaw a highly successful restructuring of the Group's labels and divisions, and named Michele Anthony his successor as President/Sony Music Label Group, U.S.
As head of Sony Music Label Group U.S., Mr. Ienner has been the architect of a series of changes designed to intensify the company's focus on A&R and artist development. He created a division dedicated to nurturing both new and established Urban talent, Sony Urban Music, which operates in a unique partnership with the Group's flagship labels Columbia Records and Epic Records. Sony Urban has developed key artists ranging from Grammy winners John Legend and Beyonce, and Oscar winners Three 6 Mafia, to Omarion, Bow Wow, Lyfe Jennings, and Amerie. As part of the continued development of Urban music within the Group, Ienner also joined with Kanye West to form a new record label, Gettting Out Our Dreams. He revitalized the company's Nashville labels, which introduced groundbreaking artists Gretchen Wilson and Miranda Lambert. In addition, Ienner created a Group-level resource for A&R and artist development to work closely with all of Sony Music's labels, drawing on the talents of the world's most respected and influential A&R professionals, including Michael Caplan, David Massey, Keith Naftaly, Jay Landers, and the 2006 Grammy winner for Producer of the Year, Steve Lillywhite.
Ienner has played a key role in building the careers of a wide range of both established and emerging artists, including Destiny's Child, Dixie Chicks, Franz Ferdinand, Los Lonely Boys, John Mayer, Matisyahu, Modest Mouse, Shakira, System Of A Down, Omarion, and Anna Nalick. His efforts have also been central to furthering the legends of Sony Music Label Group artists Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett, among many others. Sony Music Label Group U.S. earned a grand total of 14 Grammys during the 2006 awards ceremony.
Ienner joined the company in 1989 as President, Columbia Records Group, a position he assumed at age thirty-six, making him the youngest President in the label's 120-year history. Mr. Ienner served in this capacity for more than thirteen years, earning him the distinction of being the longest-serving President in the company's history. From 1994 to 2003 he also served as Chairman, Columbia Records Group where he oversaw all operations pertaining to Columbia Records and its affiliated labels, and determined the overall strategic direction of the Group. From helping to identify and introduce some of the most influential artists of the past decade to further expanding the careers of the label's legendary roster of superstar artists, Mr. Ienner is widely credited with transforming Columbia into a music industry leader in a wide variety of genres, including Pop, Rock, Rap and R&B, and as a result Columbia Records earned the title of the music industry's #1 record label in overall market share for seven consecutive years.
Prior to joining Columbia, Ienner was EVP/GM of Arista Records. He joined Arista in 1983, and during his tenure with the label he played a pivotal role in the introduction of a wide array of artists, including Whitney Houston, Kenny G, and Taylor Dayne, as well as in further building the careers of such superstar artists as Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin and The Grateful Dead, among many others.
Ienner began his music industry career in 1969, taking a position in the Capitol Records mail room while still in high school. From 1972 to 1977 he was in partnership with Jimmy Ienner in C.A.M. U.S.A., a highly successful publishing, management and production company which represented such artists as Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad, Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Raspberries, and Eric Carmen. In 1977 he co-founded Millennium Records, where he served as EVP until joining Arista.