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Ethiopia Habtemariam promoted to chairman and CEO of Motown Records

“It’s an incredible honor,” Habtemariam, who was previously the label’s president, said.

Ethiopia Habtemariam Getty

Ethiopia Habtemariam has been promoted to chairman and CEO of Motown Records, Universal Music Group announced on Monday (March 1). With her elevation, the company added, Motown will now have “greater creative and commercial independence to advance its mission of artistic, social and entrepreneurial empowerment.”

Motown is such an important voice and, just as when it was founded by Berry Gordy, its impact continues to be felt around the world,” Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge said in a statement. “Motown’s resurgence and powerful partnerships under Ethiopia’s leadership has advanced the label’s legacy as home to some of today’s biggest hitmakers and most meaningful voices in music.”

Of the new role, Habtemariam said, “It’s an incredible honor to represent and define what Motown is today.”

“I’ve always understood the power of music and the responsibility I have not only to continue to be an advocate for artists and creators, but to forge new paths for entrepreneurs and to lift up our next generation of executives around the world,” she added. “I’d like to thank Lucian for his constant support and guidance over the years; my Motown team for all they have done and continue to do; the Capitol team for their help in building Motown over these past six years; Clarence Avant who has always taught me about the power of responsibility and to Mr. Berry Gordy for his faith in me to carry on his legacy.”

As former president of the record label, Habtemariam oversaw Motown’s relocation from Los Angeles to New York in 2014. Under her leadership, the label also partnered with Atlanta’s Quality Control Music. Kevin “Coach K” Lee, QC’s co-founder, congratulated Habtemariam on her promotion on Instagram.

“I’m so proud of my sister [Ethiopia Habtemariam] on her achievements,” he wrote. “Black Excellence at its best. Thank you for extending your hand out [to Quality Control Music]. We will continue to make history.”

Prior to joining the Motown team, Habtemariam worked as the Urban Music president and co-head of Creative at Universal Music Publishing Group. See Coach K’s congratulatory post to Habtemariam below.

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