Motown Records appoints Ethiopia Habtemariam as CEO

Ethiopia Habtemariam at "Hitsville: The Making of Motown" UK Premiere at The Odeon Luxe, London on 23rd September, 2019

Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music-based entertainment company, announced today that Ethiopia Habtemariam aged 41 is the new CEO at Motown Records.

By Plot Mhako (with excerpts from ESSENCE / BILLBORD)

She has been promoted to chairman/CEO of Motown Records after serving as president of the legendary record label since 2014. Habtemariam will report directly to Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge.

Born in Berkeley, California, but grew up in the south — Tuskegee, Alabama and Atlanta, Ethiopia Habtemariam becomes one of the highest-ranking African-American women at Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.

Habtemariam began her career at age 14 working as an intern at LaFace Records, a label created by former Chairman and CEO of Epic Records, LA Reid. Shortly after, Ethiopia began working with Universal Music Group.

In the past she has worked with iconic artists such as Stevie WonderErykah BaduNe-YoKemBJ the Chicago KidStacey Barthe, and more.

earGROUND Editor Plot Mhako after visiting Motown Records in Detroit, USA in 2015

“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,” said Grainge in a statement regarding Habtemariam’s new position. “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.” Essence

Upcoming releases from Motown include new music from Migos, Tiana Major9, Tiwa Savage, Ne-Yo, Bree Runway, Kem, Erykah Badu, “who has some interesting things that are lining up.”