It has been four years since the last head of Universal Classics and Jazz, Chris Roberts, was smoked out of his Berlin bunker and sent off to live out his myth in South America. It’s three years, almost to the day, since his pet-penguin Michael Lang was fired from Deutsche Grammophon.
In all that time Universal Classics has sailed choppy waters without a skipper at the helm, guided by remote devices from mission control.
All that changes today.
Max Hole, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group International has installed Dickon Stainer as president and CEO of Global Classics.
Dickon, presently head of the Decca group which embraces both popular and classics, will be supreme commander of the classical labels, DG, Decca and Mercury, along with their various offshoots. He will direct classical strategy from Kensington. Berlin becomes a branch office.
A music biz lifer, Dickon Stainer has run marketing for the Three Tenors and pushed a new generation of eclectic artists on Decca. His classical credentials are impressive: he sang as a boy in Ely Cathedral, played in the National Youth Orchestra and is the great-grandson of John ‘Crucifision’ Stainer, composer of one of the most popular Anglican oratorios.
The new job comes with a free company tie.
Memo to Bryn: when did you last sing The Agony?