Billboard announced Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of universal music publishing group (UMPG), one of the world's leading global music publishing companies, as the Women in Music 2015 Executive of the Year. Billboard's feature honoring the industry's 50 most powerful female executives is out today, followed by the brand's annual Women in Music spectacular on December 11 in New York City.
“Jody Gerson began her new role in January with a bang,” said Janice Min, co-president and chief creative officer of Guggenheim Media's Entertainment Group, which consists of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter.
“She has since proven what everyone knows: she is brilliant at what she does, expertly leading universal music publishing group with a gift for business, yes, but a focus on great talent and creativity before anything else. Period. And she carries her fearsome power with a much-admired grace, humor and class recognized by artists and peers alike.”
“It is an absolute honor to be recognized as Billboard's Executive of the Year, most especially because we've reached a moment when our industry boasts a long list of amazing and accomplished women – women whom I deeply admire and respect,” Gerson said.
“So much has changed since I entered the music business. In fact, one of my responsibilities at my first job in music was to distribute copies of Billboard magazine to all of the executives at Chappell Music—and at most, three of them were women.
Another one of my responsibilities was sending the Billboard Hot 100 charts to our International Managing Directors. All were men. We've come a long way since then, and I think music and artists and songwriters are the better off for it. Congratulations to all my fellow honorees.
I am confident this group of women will continue to pave the way for the next generation of strong female leaders. “Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “On behalf of everyone here at Universal Music, I'm thrilled to join Billboard in recognizing the leadership and contributions of women across the music business, and especially to congratulate Jody Gerson. This honor recognizes how in just 12 months at the helm of Universal Music Publishing Group, Jody has instilled a new corporate culture, put songwriters first and attracted bright new talent.
And I'm particularly proud this is the second consecutive year with a UMG executive receiving this honor – with Michele Anthony last year. To Jody and all of our honorees, congratulations and thank you for your immense contributions to making Universal Music the home to leading artists, innovators and entrepreneurs.”
In her role, Gerson oversees all global activities of UMPG, which publishes some of the most popular and legendary songwriters and artists in music including Adele, Billy Joel, Britney Spears, Coldplay, Elton John, Eminem, Florence + the Machine, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Mumford & Sons, U2 and more.
Since Gerson took the helm on January 1, 2015, UMPG has signed new deals with Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Halsey, Jeff Bhasker, Joe Jonas, Kacy Hill, Maroon 5, Nick Jonas, Pearl Jam, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes and Tobias Jesso Jr, as well as extended major deals with Big Sean, Eminem, Future, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jason Derulo, J.Cole, Martin Garrix, and Nicki Minaj, among many others.
Gerson joined UMPG after serving as Co-President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where she signed then-unknown singer/songwriter Lady Gaga, Billboard's 2015 Woman of the Year.Prior to joining Sony/ATV, Gerson was part of the senior management team at EMI Music Publishing, serving as head of the company's east coast publishing division followed by revitalizing and heading up EMI's west coast division. During her tenure at EMI, Gerson signed and nurtured the careers of several superstars including Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Enrique Iglesias.
Outside of her work in music, Gerson has also been active in film, serving as an executive producer of the successful films Drumline, Drumline 2 and ATL.The year's most powerful female executives will come together with the year's artist honorees which include, Powerhouse Brittany Howard, Rulebreaker Demi Lovato, Group of the Year Fifth Harmony, Rising Star Kelsea Ballerini, Breakthrough Artist Tori Kelly, Trailblazer Lana Del Rey, Chart Topper Selena Gomez, Innovator Missy Elliott and Legend Loretta Lynn.
The Women in Music event is presented by American Express and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, American Airlines, Pepsi, Nielsen Entertainment and Iron Mountain Entertainment Services.