Universal Music Expands Its Africa Territory With New Leadership Appointments

Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music entertainment, has expanded its territory in Africa through a new leadership appointments to support and grow the continent’s domestic music ecosystems.

The company says this will also help in creating new opportunities for African talent to reach new audiences globally.

To help lead this expansion, Sipho Dlamini has been promoted to CEO, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, effective immediately. Dlamini will continue to oversee all of UMG’s operations within English-speaking Africa.

Since joining UMG in 2016, he has been instrumental in solidifying and growing UMG’s African infrastructure, increasing the visibility of African music around the world and delivering unprecedented artist success in South Africa.

During this time, UMG has also led the industry with new initiatives across live music, brand partnerships and the adoption of licensed and legal streaming platforms within Africa.

Dlamini is a member of UMG’s Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC), which was created last year as a driving force for inclusion and social justice within the global music industry and serves as chair for the TFMC’s Global Committee.

In his new role, Dlamini will continue to work closely with Adam Granite, UMG’s EVP, Market Development, to identify further opportunities for artists signed to Universal Music Africa to reach new audiences around the world, utilizing UMG’s unrivalled global network of industry-leading businesses spanning more than 60 countries worldwide.

Sipho Dlamini

In his new role, Dlamini will continue to work closely with Adam Granite, UMG’s EVP, Market Development, to identify further opportunities for artists signed to Universal Music Africa to reach new audiences around the world, utilizing UMG’s unrivalled global network of industry-leading businesses spanning more than 60 countries worldwide.

Within South Africa, Dlamini has been joined by hugely experienced senior executive Elouise Kelly, who has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. She will be based in Johannesburg and will report to Dlamini.

Kelly Joins UMG from global advertising and media agency Ogilvy, where she held the position of Managing Director, South Africa. With a proven and award-winning background in branding, marketing, communication and commercial business strategy, she will play an integral role in the further expansion of Universal Music Africa and its operations and label divisions.

Prior to working at Ogilvy, Kelly held senior positions at SABC, Top TV, Viacom International Media Networks and M-Net.

Elouise Kelly

With a proven and award-winning background in branding, marketing, communication and commercial business strategy, she will play an integral role in the further expansion of Universal Music Africa and its operations and label divisions. 

He is the founder of Eclipse Live – A Live entertainment company focused on bringing live affordable entertainment to the youth of Africa and Eclipse Brand Agency, working with major clients, artists and commercial partners.

Universal Music Africa Appointments
Chinedu Okeke

He is also the founder and Executive Producer of Nigeria’s legendary Gidi Culture Festival, and a founding Trustee of Echo Music & Arts Foundation, and previously held positions at The Wicklow Group, Canvest Group AP Moeller Maersk.

All three will work closely with French-speaking operations in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon and markets within the continent, which operate under the leadership of Franck Kacou, Directeur General, Universal Music Africa.

UMG is also working closely in partnership with parent company Vivendi, and several of Vivendi’s divisions, including CanalOlympia, Olympia Production, Vivendi and Canal+ to support and develop the live music industry throughout Africa.

Announcing the changes, Adam Granite said, “I am thrilled to announce these strategic appointments, as we look to further develop our domestic infrastructure and label rosters within Africa.

“Most integral to achieving our long-term ambitions, is to build a strong leadership team on the ground, with deep foundations in each country to help grow a dynamic ecosystem for all to benefit in the future.

“Over the past few years, Sipho has shown great leadership, commitment and vision for music in Africa, helping UMG to introduce new talent to audiences around the world and identify opportunities to lead the industry in licensing and supporting new platforms to reach African music fans.

“Elouise and Chin both bring welcome new skills, proven entrepreneurship and important leadership experience that will only serve to bolster UMG’s position as the market-leader across Africa.”

Sipho Dlamini said, “There has never been a more exciting time for African music around the world, as it continues to influence and inspire culture and creativity, whilst reaching a wider audience globally each day through streaming.”

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