French honour follows CBE for music industry mogul

Lucian Grainge, who was at the School in the 1970s, heads Universal Music Group – the world’s biggest record company.

Lucian, who was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal in March 2011, has long been acknowledged as one of the most influential people in the global music industry. He has worked with a roster of artists such as Amy Winehouse, U2, Duffy, Girls Aloud and Eminem.

In September 2012, Universal Music Group won approval from the EU to acquire EMI Recording Ltd, bringing a number of artists into the music giant’s fold – including the Beatles. EMI’s labels included Virgin – with a back catalogue including The Human League and the Spice Girls, as well as current artists Emeli Sande and Professor Green – and Capitol Records, which is home to the recordings of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and the Beach Boys. However, the European agreement, which followed approval from regulators in the US and Japan, required Universal to divest several top artists, including Coldplay, David Bowie and Blur.

Awarded the CBE for services to the creative industries in the 2010 New Year’s Honours, he was then made an Officer of France’s Order of Arts and Letters the following year. He received the French honour at a ceremony in California, where he is based, from France's then culture minister, Frédéric Mitterand.

Lucian Grainge is known both for fostering digital partnerships and for taking a tough stance on illegal file-sharing.

His 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.