Warner Music Group executive and philanthropist, Kevin Liles, announced early Thursday his plans to leave the company. The former president of Def Jam will leave Warner Music Group to explore new entrepreneurial endeavors.
Chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group Edgar, Bronfman Jr. expressed his gratitude for Liles’ service in a statement saying:
“Kevin Liles is an exceptional executive and one of the most dynamically creative individuals in the industry. During his tenure at WMG, he helped to design and implement our industry-leading artist services strategy that in just a few years is already producing meaningful results. With WMG now positioned for future growth, Kevin is following his heart. His presence will be missed in 75 Rock.”
Liles released his own statement as well thanking the company for their support during his transition.
“In the past couple weeks I’ve made one of the most important decisions of my life — to depart the Warner Music Group in order to focus more on new entrepreneurial endeavors in talent management, entertainment, media and my personal philanthropic and political passions. I am thankful for the opportunities that Edgar and Lyor have given me, most recently in entrusting me with driving the company’s global artist services strategy, which is redefining the way labels and artists work together. My work here is now complete and I’m excited about the next chapter of my life.”
Liles’ infamous rise to power was documented in his popular book,” Make It Happen: The Hip-Hop Generation’s Guide to Success.” Followers of the book learned about how he went from being an intern at Def Jam in 1991 to being the President in 1998. During his tenure as President of Def Jam he was an integral part of the success for many of Hip-Hop’s heavyweights including Jay-Z, DMX, Ludacris, Kanye and LL Cool J. He is also noted for writing the successful song, “Girl You Know It’s True” for 80s pop group, Milli Vanilli.
Lyor Cohen, WMG’s Vice Chairman and Chairman and CEO, Recorded Music – Americas and the UK, added:
“Kevin and I have worked together since the day he joined Def Jam as an intern 18 years ago. He has become a trusted friend, a brilliant executive and an incredible business partner. Together, we have built companies, signed and developed fantastically talented artists, and brought some outstanding music to the world. Even though Kevin’s chosen to pursue a new challenge, we’ll continue to work together in many aspects of the entertainment industry. I’m so excited to see what’s next for Kev, and he takes with him all my love and respect.”
Liles joined Warner Music Group as Executive Vice President in 2004 and was the lead executive behind the company’s “360-degree strategy” for enhanced artist partnerships (better known as leaching off the artist’s show money and endorsements). Along with his upcoming entrepreneurial accolades, he will continue to spearhead various organizations including his Make It Happen Foundation, which empowers African-American youth to succeed in the business world.