Universal Music Australia President Stepping Down

12 December 2022 | 10:24 am | Mary Varvaris

"I have so many fond memories, favourite shows, and most of all, friendships from my time here."

(Pic by Daniel Boud)

This morning, Universal Music Australia President George Ash announced that he is leaving the role.

In an email sent to staff and revealed by The Music Network, Ash said that he had planned the decision "for a long time".

"Having been with the company for nearly three decades, the time feels right. I am so confident in and proud of the brilliant leadership team we have in place, as well as the positive changes we have made in the past couple of years, and I am excited to see the company, staff, labels, and artists continue to grow and thrive in the years ahead," he wrote.

Ash added, "I have so many fond memories, favourite shows, and most of all, friendships from my time here. After 35 years working in music, my love for it has not diminished, and I’m as excited for the future as I was back then, when I was working the night shift in the Polygram pressing plant in Wellington. 

"My enduring thanks and admiration, George." He also thanked his many colleagues in the email.

A press release that was sent out this morning confirms that Ash's successor will be announced "at a later date".

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As reported by The Music Network last year, Ash confirmed that an investigation into workplace culture would go ahead at Universal Music Australia following allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, homophobia, discrimination, and sexual assault.

George Ash placed third on The Music's Power 50 in 2020, which marked the most influential people in the Australian music industry, behind Michael Gudinski and Denis Handlin. 

George Ash’s career in music began as a teenage musician in New Zealand. After holding roles at companies like BMG NZ and PolyGram, Ash sat at the helm of Universal Music New Zealand from its launch in 1995. In 2001, he moved to Australia, taking on the role of managing director of Universal Music Australia. In 2010, Ash was appointed president of Universal Music Australasia and then became president of Universal Music Asia Pacific in 2013.