Ethiopia Habtemariam Will Lead Motown Records Into New Territory With New Role

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
Ethiopia Habtermariam
Photo Credit: Universal Music Group

Ethiopia Habtemariam has served as the president of Motown Records since 2014, she now reports to Universal Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge.

Ethiopia Habtemariam has been promoted to chairman/CEO of Motown Records. 

Habtemariam previously served as president of the iconic music company for since 2014. As of today, the music executive will report directly to UMG Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge. 

The new appointment announced on Monday will allow for greater commercial and creative independence that will lead Motown into its next chapter. A statement from Sir Lucian Grainge reads, “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. 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.”

Upon joining Motown, Habtemariam oversaw the label’s relocation to Los Angeles from New York in 2014. Under her leadership, Motown continued its traditions of artist development and forged unique partnerships with entrepreneurs such as Atlanta-based Quality Control. The QC partnership has led to the success of Southern acts including City Girls, Migos, Lil Baby, and Lil Yachty.

Habtemariam shared the following statement: 

“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. 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.”

Back in 2014, Habtemariam was appointed by Lucian Grainge as President of Motown Records and Executive Vice President of Capitol Music Group. When appointed she was charged with growing the legendary label. Prior to that role, she served as President of Urban Music & Co-Head of Creative at Universal Music Publishing Group. While there she furthered the trajectories of countless artists and acts. 

Motown, founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy is undoubtedly the blueprint for many labels throughout the globe is home to a bevy of artists. Habtermariam’s leadership has guided the following: Blacksmith Records (Vince Staples), QC (Bankroll Freddie, Duke Deuce, Layton Greene), Since the 80s (Asiahn, Njomza), in addition to Erykah Badu and Tiana Major9.

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