In a leadership shakeup, Tencent Music Entertainment Group has announced that Zhu (“Ross”) Liang has been appointed as the company’s new CEO, with Cussion Kar Shun Pang moving over to executive chairman of the company’s board of directors.
According to the announcement, as CEO, Liang’s primary responsibility will be to oversee TME’s QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music, WeSing and long-form audio business. TME’s current chairman of the board, Tong Tao Sang (or “Dowson Tong”), will resign from that position as well as chairman of the compensation committee and all his roles as a director or an officer of affiliates of the company. James Gordon Mitchell has been appointed chairman of the board’s compensation committee.
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The changes will go into effect as of April 15, 2021.
Last year Tencent, one of the largest music companies in the world, increased its holdings in Universal Music Group — which is the largest music company in the world — to 20%. The deal placed UMG’s valuation at $36.9 billion.
Prior to this appointment, Liang served as vice president of Tencent Holdings Limited, where he was responsible for overseeing a number of major platforms including QQ, as well as the social platform Qzone. Prior to that role, Liang was GM of QQ Music from 2014 to 2016.
Dowson has served as chairman of the board since 2016. According to the announcement, he played an integral role in the formation of TME through the strategic merger of Tencent’s QQ Music and WeSing with China Music Corporation, the former holding company of Kugou Music and Kuwo Music.
“The Board wishes to extend its deepest gratitude to Dowson for his distinguished leadership in driving the transformational growth of TME over the past five years,” the announcement reads. “Dowson’s personal dedication to shaping the Company’s overall strategy within the broader context of promoting the healthy and sustainable development of the music industry has enabled TME to thrive as the leading online music entertainment platform in China.”
As executive chairman, Cussion will be responsible for setting the company’s long-term strategy, overall coordination and management of the board and the company. He will continue to work closely in collaboration with Liang to provide value to users, business partners and shareholders.
“I am delighted to have Ross join our team as the CEO. Ross’ proven track record in building successful online entertainment platforms and social ecosystems, combined with his breadth of experience delivering strong results through successful expansion into new business areas, makes him ideally suited to accelerate our evolution into an all-in-one online music and audio entertainment destination in China,” said Cussion. “TME is very well positioned for the secular growth opportunities within online music and audio that lie ahead of us. I remain as engaged and committed to the Company’s long-term success as ever, and I am excited to work with Ross, along with the Board and our entire senior management team, to build on our strong momentum to drive the next phase of growth for TME.”
Liang said, “It is a true honor to lead this extraordinary and innovative company as CEO. I believe TME’s dedication towards driving a sustainable industry development, outstanding product and technology offerings, and innovative business models, combined with the most talented group of people in the industry, uniquely position the Company to capitalize on the exciting opportunities within online music and audio entertainment. I look forward to working in close partnership with Cussion, the Board and the senior management team, to build on our strong foundation to better serve our users, artists and content creators, provide the best career experiences for our people, and create long-term value for our shareholders.”
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