Capitol Music Group Chief Steve Barnett to Retire

Jem Aswad
·3 min read

Capitol Music Group Chairman & CEO Steve Barnett will retire on December 31, 2020, the company announced today, capping a 50-year career in the music business, including eight years at the helm of CMG.

Barnett announced his long-planned decision to the full company this morning, in conjunction with Universal Group Chairman & CEO Lucian Grainge. The two also jointly announced the promotion of Jeff Vaughn and Michelle Jubelirer to serve as CMG’s next leaders.

Vaughn, currently President of Capitol Records, will become CMG Chairman and CEO, and current CMG COO Jubelirer will serve as CMG’s President and COO.

“This has been an incredible journey, and I’ve been tremendously fortunate to work with such amazing people along the way,” Barnett said in a statement. “I am indebted to Lucian for his unwavering belief in me and for his unreserved support for our efforts these entire eight years. To say that I will always be grateful to him is truly an understatement. Michelle was the first to join me at CMG and has been my partner in revitalizing the company and creating an environment where artists and our employees could thrive. From the moment Jeff joined us, I knew he’d quickly make his mark on Capitol, and I’m certain that he and Michelle are the perfect team to guide CMG into the future. My appreciation extends to Boyd Muir and my many friends at UMG who have been there for me and my team these past eight years. I thank you all.”

In an email to the staff obtained by Variety, Grainge said: “Today Steve Barnett announced that after an incredible five-decade career in music, capped by nothing less than the revitalization of our iconic Capitol Music Group, he has decided to retire at the end of the year.

“When Capitol joined our family as part of the EMI acquisition, it was in desperate need of vision, passion and drive. Steve brought all of that and more to the Tower, and today, once again, Capitol stands as a symbol of creative and commercial success in music—a magnet both to great artists and great music business professionals.

“Steve, being the extraordinary executive and mentor he is, worked closely with me to put in place a leadership team that will write Capitol’s next exciting chapter: Jeff Vaughn and Michelle Jubelirer. Together with the talented employees at CMG and its labels, they will build upon Steve’s foundation, and assure Capitol’s future success.

“I am so grateful to Steve for all he has done for Capitol and UMG. I told him that if he finds himself getting antsy in his retirement, he is always welcome here. But in the meantime, please join me in thanking Steve for all he did at Capitol, and wishing him and Nancy a wonderful retirement and lots of quality time with their family.”

Barnett was named to his post by Grainge in November 2012 after UMG acquired EMI Records earlier that year. The pair formed the Capitol Music Group centered on a multi-label approach — consisting of Capitol Records, Motown Records, Astralwerks, Capitol Christian Music Group, Blue Note Records and Caroline — and relocated the company’s headquarters from New York back to its historic Hollywood home, and completed a multi-year renovation of its iconic Capitol Tower and historic Capitol Studios, in advance of the company’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2017.

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