Warner Music veteran Cohen to leave company

LOS ANGELES Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:57pm EDT

Kanye West (L) and Lyor Cohen arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, in New York, May 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Kanye West (L) and Lyor Cohen arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, in New York, May 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Warner Music Group executive Lyor Cohen will resign from the company this month after an eight-year tenure during which he steered the company through a revamp under new ownership and found success with artists from Cee Lo Green to Josh Groban.

Cohen joined Warner Music Group in 2004 and oversaw a restructuring of its recorded music division after investors led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. acquired it from Time Warner Inc. He has served as chairman and CEO of recorded music since 2011. He will resign from the company effective September 30.

"While we understand his desire to move on to his next challenge, the enduring success of our recorded music division will serve as a great testament to the progress we've made during Lyor's time at WMG," Warner Music Group CEO Stephen Cooper said in a statement.

Cooper took over day-to-day operations of the company last year, shortly after it was bought by Len Blavatnik's Access Industries.

Under Cohen's stewardship, Warner owned the No. 1 label in the United States for four years between 2004 and 2010, the company said. Warner's recorded music business also rose to the world's third largest, from fourth, in 2007. Successful artists during the time ranged from Nickelback to Jason Mraz.

He also led the company's transition from physical to digital music.

Cohen made his name as president of Universal Music's Island Def Jam Records, where he signed acts such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince, from 1988 to 2002. He is known for developing rap music acts, including LL Cool J, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Gary Hill)

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