Originally known for slimming down operations to resuscitate withering companies, he was tapped to be WMG’s CEO after it was acquired by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries in 2011. But both Blavatnik and Cooper didn’t see a distressed asset that needed to be pruned. Instead of cutting back, Cooper expanded Warner’s global reach through strategic acquisitions such as Parlaphone Label Group, Gold Typhoon, 300 Entertainment, and Qanawat.
Over the past decade, WMG’s annual revenues have more than doubled. During Steve Cooper’s time as CEO, Warner Music’s market value has grown more than five times from $3.3 billion in 2011 to $17.1 billion today. Cooper credits Blavatnik for setting out to “create change and lead the pack.”
“We’ve known each other a long time now and we’ll be friends long after I leave Warner. We’ve never disagreed on the big decisions, including our major acquisitions, investments in emerging markets, and calculated risks with tech. He’s involved but not intrusive, is the way I’d put it.”
Read Steve Cooper’s entire Music Business Worldwide exit interview here.