Miles Leonard’s long spell at Parlophone is coming to an end, though he will remain in an advisory role at Warner until late 2018.
Mark Mitchell has been named as co-president of Parlophone Records, effective from January 1, reporting into Max Lousada, CEO Recorded Music, WMG & Chairman and CEO, Warner Music UK. The announcement follows key appointments made by Lousada at Warner Bros. Records in the US.
Mitchell has been closely involved in the stellar Ed Sheeran campaign, as well as records by Anne-Marie, Plan B, Bruno Mars, Clean Bandit, Jess Glynne, James Blunt and Rudimental. He will be responsible for driving the label’s strategy as well as overseeing all marketing, press, digital, design and promo functions.
Mitchell's fellow co-president has yet to be officially announced, although Music Week sources say it will be Virgin EMI's SVP of A&R Nick Burgess. Music Week sources suggest Burgess' contract at the Universal label is not yet up, meaning he may not be free to start at Atlantic for some time, possibly as long as a year.
Leonard, who has worked at the label for 23 years, will continue in an advisory A&R role and support the leadership transition until late 2018, after which he will continue working with Warner Music on key artists and special projects.
During his lengthy career at the label – much of it with EMI and latterly with Warner – Leonard’s had international success with artists including Coldplay, Lily Allen and last night’s Q Award winners Gorillaz.
“Working at Parlophone has been the adventure of a lifetime,” said Leonard. “It’s been a privilege to be the custodian of a label that occupies such a unique place in popular culture and to have worked with so many unique and inspiring artists, managers and teams. It was a difficult decision, but now really is the right time for me to give up my day-to-day responsibilities so I can focus solely on the music and artists I love. Mitch and I have known each other for many years. He is driven, passionate and he’s a great guy. Stepping down is both easy and exciting when passing Parlophone on to a leader of his calibre. I just hope he is also ready for the next 23 years…”
Max Lousada added: “Miles is the definition of music man. Under his guidance Parlophone has discovered and championed seminal artists who’ve released important, much-loved music and been wildly successful doing it. Miles has always understood that true artist development takes a lot of heart and he brings that to everything he does, so I’m excited for how his relationship with Warner will evolve and grateful for his extraordinary contribution to music over the past two decades."
Mitchell joined Atlantic in 2009 as a senior marketing manager, was promoted to marketing director in 2011 and named general manager in January 2012. Previously, he established and ran King Harvest, a marketing consultancy with clients including The Prodigy, Domino Records with acts like Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, as well as Skint and Fatboy Slim.
Lousada said: “I couldn’t be happier that Mitch is taking on this role. He has the rare skill of understanding how to break artists as well as delivering massive moments for global superstars. He thinks like an indie while operating in a major, which means a diverse array of artists have flourished thanks to his expertise. This is a fantastic new chapter for Mitch and for Parlophone.”
Mark Mitchell said: “It’s an honour to work for such a prestigious label that’s considered a bastion of British cultural influence. Parlophone has never been scared to embrace distinctive and disruptive talent and that’s a tradition that I’m looking forward to continuing. I’d like to thank Miles for his support and Max for this remarkable opportunity.”
Speaking to Music Week earlier this year, Coldplay’s manager Phil Harvey described the enduring relationship between Leonard and the band.
"When, in the year 2024, robots end up replacing humans throughout the entire music industry, the designers will probably base the Record Company Boss prototype on Miles Leonard: musically catholic with a predilection for funk, strong-willed, creative, calm under pressure, fiercely loyal, tough as old boots and more than a little stubborn,” he said. "Miles has been part of Coldplay’s inner circle since we signed to Parlophone in 1999 – and he’s still the man we most want to impress."
Leonard signed Royal Blood and Lukas Graham to Warner Bros. UK, where he was also chairman until stepping aside last year.
He joined Parlophone in 1995 from Virgin Records, where one of his most successful signings was The Verve, who went on to have blockbuster sales with Urban Hymns.
His recent signings include Stereophonics, whose new album Scream Above The Sounds is out next month.