In the latest shakeup at Capitol Music Group (CMG), Universal Music Group (UMG) chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge and CMG chief Steve Barnett announced today that former Columbia Records president Ashley Newton will be taking over as Group president, as well as being named executive vice president of creative/special projects at Universal. Newton's arrival at the Hollywood tower has long been rumored as the group of labels continues to consolidate its operations on the west coast.
Newton takes over a newly-created role and will be tasked with managing the label's day-to-day operations and working on film, television and music projects. "Ashley is one of the most artist-friendly, committed and successful creative executives in music and a fierce proponent for taste and aesthetics," says Barnett, who first appointed Newton as Columbia president while working as the label's co-chairman/COO in 2010. "It's a testament to his great abilities that his successful artist associations span The Spice Girls to Adele to Kings Of Leon to D'Angelo to Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams. His extensive experience, artist and industry relationships and strong interpersonal skills will be of tremendous value to Capitol Music Group, and everyone in the company joins me in welcoming Ashley to the family."
Newton's Columbia career has included such illustrious victories as working Daft Punk's Random Access Memories to an Album of the Year Grammy in 2014, Pharrell's "Happy" to ubiquitous status that same year and having helped shepherd the careers of Adele, Haim, John Mayer and more. Newton was previously evp of A&R at RCA, working with Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon, among others.
In a statement, Grainge points out that Capitol is entering its "next phase of growth" while welcoming Newton to the team. "With Ashley, we continue our strategy of having our company's key positions held by executives with incredible creative track records and with deep artist development experience," he said. "As one of the industry's most respected and accomplished executives, I'm looking forward to Ashley's contributions at Capitol as well as UMG."
The move comes weeks after CMG appointed Harvest Records GMs Piero Giramonti and Jacqueline Saturn as the new GMs of its Caroline independent distribution service, moving the pair to the west coast as well. "Lucian and Steve are true leaders who define excellence within our industry, and we share a philosophy that music must always remain the prevailing priority," Newton said in the statement. "They have provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime, and it is a real honor to be joining them and their teams in such multi-faceted roles within the two companies."