Universal Music Group has appointed a CEO for the Sub Saharan Africa region as it seeks to expand in the African continent. South African, Sipho Dlamini, is the new CEO of Universal Music in Sub Saharan Africa and he will lead the firm’s operations in English speaking Africa.
The company has also named a team of competent professionals to drive growth in the continent. The appointments are; Elouise Kelly, the former MD of ad giant Ogilvy in South Africa, as the Chief Operating Officer at Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, and Chinedu Okeke, a successful music entrepreneur as the Managing Director of Universal Music Nigeria. The highly qualified African team will help promote African music around the globe and increase Universal Music’s footprint in Africa.
The American music company has a presence in 60 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific region. In Africa, it has divisions in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire. In 2018, the US-based entertainment firm acquired 70% ownership in Kenya’s leading music label AI records.
Universal music aims to gain from Africa’s vast youthful population, increased access to smart phones, and the growing internet penetration. However, the high cost of internet poses a challenge for music consumers in many African countries. The US music company also seeks to develop a global audience for the increasingly popular music by African Artists such as Sauti Sol, Tiwa Savage, Nasty C.
Universal Music Group is ranked among the top 50 most innovative companies in the world. Fast Company, in 2019, described it as the most innovative music company on earth. The company is 90% owned by the French Media firm, Vivendi, and 10% owned by the Chinese tech company, Tencent. JPMorgan valued the business at an estimated $50 billion in 2019.