Doug Morris Biography
Doug Morris, Chief Executive Officer
Doug Morris is Chief Executive Officer of Sony Music Entertainment. Widely regarded as the most influential music executive in the industry, he is responsible for guiding the overall global activities of the world’s second largest music company.
Prior to joining Sony Music in 2011, Mr. Morris was Worldwide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s largest music company. Under Mr. Morris’s direction, UMG became the music industry’s most successful music company, leading the industry in market share for 14 consecutive years. During that time, he oversaw UMG’s rapid evolution from a record company into a full-fledged music entertainment company.
A graduate of Columbia University, Mr. Morris began his music career as a songwriter for music publisher Robert Mellin, Inc. His credits include the Chiffons’ 1966 hit “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” and producing such hit records as Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.” Mr. Morris joined Laurie Records in 1965 as a writer and producer and was eventually named Vice President and General Manager. Later, he launched his own label, Big Tree Records, which was distributed and eventually acquired by Atlantic Records in 1978. At this time Mr. Morris was named President of ATCO Records, beginning a 17-year association with Warner Music.
In 1980, Mr. Morris was appointed President of Atlantic Records and assumed the position of Co-Chairman and Co-CEO (with Ahmet Ertegun) of the Atlantic Recording Group in 1990. At Atlantic, Mr. Morris played a key role in transforming the label into the number one company within the Warner Music Group and the premier company within the music industry. As part of his strategy for growth, Mr. Morris revamped the division labels into completely autonomous units (each supporting a variety of imprints); established co-venture deals with such renowned labels as Interscope, Rhino, and Matador; and created Time Warner Audiobooks in partnership with Warner Books. He also established Atlantic Nashville, launched EastWest Records and created A*Vision Entertainment, a leading home entertainment unit. Mr. Morris was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Warner Music U.S. in 1994 and, soon after, was named Chairman.
Mr. Morris began his association with the MCA Music Entertainment Group (now Universal Music Group) in July 1995 by forming the joint venture, Rising Tide Entertainment. Upon Mr. Morris’s appointment as Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group in November 1995, the joint venture became wholly owned by Universal Music Group and was re-named Universal Records. The full-service label, under the direction of Mr. Morris, quickly became one of the industry’s most successful start-up recording companies.
While leading Universal Music Group, Mr. Morris energized the company by attracting and recruiting many of the music industry’s most talented executives. With the acquisition of PolyGram in 1998, Mr. Morris was directly involved with the restructuring and integration process to create the world’s largest music company. Under his leadership, Universal Music Group dominated the musical charts as the industry’s leader, setting new records for revenues and market share in the U.S. and on a global basis, with a roster of superstars such as Lady Gaga, U2, Black Eyed Peas and Kanye West, along with successful newcomers Rihanna and Justin Bieber.
Throughout his career, Mr. Morris has worked in many different capacities with some of the most popular and influential artists of the past four decades, including The Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, Pete Townsend, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Tori Amos, INXS, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder and U2, among many others.