California calling for Old Elizabethan music industry mogul

Old Elizabethan Lucian Grainge, a leading music industry executive, is to re-locate to California – a move seen as significant by business commentators.

Mr Grainge received his CBE at Buckingham Palace and was then feted at the Brit music awards on the same day earlier this year at a time when it became known that he was to become Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group.

Just two months ago he re-located from the UK to New York, but now he is moving to Santa Monica.Currently co-Chief Executive with Chairman Doug Morris, he will assume sole responsibility for the group from 1 January 2011.Sources close to him are reported to have suggested that others from Universal might eventually join him in California, the heart of the wider US entertainment industry.

Within the music industry Mr Grainge is considered both influential and highly successful; he has worked with a roster of artists such as Amy Winehouse, U2, Duffy, Girls Aloud and Eminem. He was instrumental in the recent deal between Universal and Simon Fuller, creator of the Idol TV franchise that began with the Pop Idol show. Under the deal, Universal’s Interscope Geffen A&M division will market albums from the finalists of American Idol.

At Mr Grainge’s farewell party held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge when he left London, artists such as The Killers, Amy Winehouse and Duffy rubbed shoulders with leading figures from the worlds of business and politics, including Lord Mandelson, Lloyds Chairman Lord Levene, WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell and retail magnate Sir Philip Green.

Mr Grainge’s own eye for retail is said to go back to his childhood, when he would study which records customers chose in his father’s TV, radio and record shop.

Mr Grainge has advised both the Conservatives and Labour on the best way to tackle CD piracy.