Motown Records chairwoman and CEO Ethiopia Habtermariam is stepping down from her position “to pursue new endeavors,” the label and parent company Universal Music Group (UMG) announced Tuesday (Nov. 29). A successor will be announced at a later date.
In a statement, Habtermariam said, “It has been the greatest honor to work with some of the most incredible artists, songwriters and partners in the world. I have always had a clear vision for the talent that I’ve had the privilege to work with, which has led Motown to global success and returned the label to the forefront of contemporary culture. I would not have been able to make that vision come to life without the support of my amazing team at Motown, my UMG colleagues around the world, and Sir Lucian. I am incredibly proud of what we have created during my tenure, and I consider this the perfect finale to my 20 years at UMG spanning publishing and recorded music.”
UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge added, “Under Ethiopia’s leadership, Motown has seen strong growth, continuing its legacy of bringing important new voices to modern culture. Not only has Ethiopia been instrumental in developing and breaking incredible artists, but also she has strategically identified and amplified key partnerships that have been, and will continue to be, cornerstones of the UMG creative ecosystem. While I will miss working with Ethiopia, I know she will achieve great things going forward and she leaves with our enduring love and respect.”
Habtermariam was elevated to Motown chairman and CEO in March 2021 following six years as president, making her just the third woman and only the second woman of color ever to hold that title at a major label. During her tenure, she orchestrated creative and entrepreneurial ventures with partners including a 2015 deal with Quality Control Music, under which Motown helped shepherd the careers of QC artists including Migos, City Girls, Lil Yachty Layton Greene and Lil Baby.
This is a developing story.