Vivendi has issued a statement to confirm that Lucian Grainge will remain as CEO of the company until at least 2020.
There were a serious number of rumours circulating at the start of the year that his position at the company was under question. This was exacerbated by the surprise departure of Rob Wells in February as president of global digital business at UMG. The theory held that parent company Vivendi was dramatically changing its mind on freemium and that Wells was the fall guy for Universal as it started to reverse out of the area.
Hence, the rumours held, Grainge’s very public attacks on free. For example, at the Code/Media conference earlier this year, he said, “On-demand, ad-funded is not particularly sustainable in the long term.”
The statement issued by Vivendi today (translated from French via Google Translate) says the company has put in place “a development plan for the next five years”.
It adds, “This plan will enable it to pursue profitable growth and to continue playing a key role in the transformation of the music industry.”
The statement places digital as key to the future of Universal.
“UMG will accelerate the monetisation of music in digital, expand the distribution of its audio and video content by multiplying partnerships with platforms and strengthen its strategic relationships with brands and sponsors,” it says. “It will continue to be the benchmark in its sector in the support and development of all artists.”
It also singles out investment in key emerging markets, specifically. Africa, China and India. It adds that the extension in Grainge’s contract is key to this expansion.
It concludes, “UMG is at the heart of the new Vivendi strategic project to refocus in the media and content creation, and actively engage with talents.”