Robert Kyncl leaves YouTube. Expect the question “Is THIS the new CEO of Warner Music Group?” rumor mill to accelerate.

There was a time in recent history when Robert Kyncl was the single most senior YouTube executive responsible for interacting with the music industry most frequently.

That largely changed in 2016 when Kyncl welcomed music industry vet Lyor Cohen to YouTube as the service’s global head of music.

Since then, Kyncl’s direct relationships with powerful music rights holders have waned somewhat, but – as YouTube’s business chief – his global influence within the Alphabet/Google-owned company has steadily grown. .

So far, that is, we learn that Kyncl is officially stepping down from his role at YouTube after 12 years with the platform.

As first reported by VarietyNews of Kyncl’s departure was confirmed by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki today (August 29).

In an internal memo to staff, Wojcicki wrote, “After 12 years of building YouTube’s business organization into the powerhouse it is today, with a talented global team, millions of successful creators and strong partnerships with many industries, Robert decided to leave YouTube in 2023 to begin the next chapter of his career.

What will this next chapter entail? We will see.

There are, of course, a plethora of possibilities for US-based, Czech-born Kyncl and his upcoming move to Media Land.

Yet it would be remiss of MBW not to remind you that earlier this summer we listed 53 executives that Warner Music Group’s board could consider the company’s new CEO, following the departure expected from current WMG boss Steve Cooper.

Robert Kync’s name was on that list.

Kyncl thus becomes the first seriously discussed potential new CEO of WMG to publicly leave his current job.

Adding temptation to such speculation: the fact that Kyncl will remain a member of YouTube’s management team until next year.

Warner confirmed that he was in no rush to get Steve Cooper out of his company and hire a new CEO.

Also: resigning executives, gone to join new companies, are rarely allowed to remove their fluffy handcuffs too quickly.

Kyncl’s more than four-month wait to officially leave YouTube could be telling in this regard.

Weigh against the likelihood of Kyncl joining Warner as the new chief executive? Some things.

For one thing: the fact that Kyncl’s exit from YouTube was announced just two months after Steve Cooper confirmed his own departure from his current employer.

In a memo to Warner staff in June, Cooper said: “The process of finding a new CEO will take time and we will be reviewing candidates both internally and externally. We expect the transition to take place by the end of 2023.”

Sounds like an exhaustive search was planned, right?

Would Warner really give up this exhaustive search for a big “you’re hired!” simply if a frame of the caliber of Kyncl made itself available?

“After 12 incredible years, I have decided to move on to the next challenge soon.”

Robert Kyncl, confirming his departure from YouTube today

Quickly hiring a new CEO for a publicly traded entity like WMG may also seem unlikely for other reasons.

By trading on the Nasdaq, Warner works under the scrutiny of institutional and individual shareholders. He has a fiduciary duty to make important, well-considered decisions on their behalf.

In other words, don’t bet on Kyncl joining WMG.

Unless you like a long odds float, that is. In this case, of course, throw some chips.

Commenting Upon leaving YouTube today, Kyncl said, “YouTube is a great place and a great place to start!

After 12 incredible years, I decided to move on to the next challenge soon.

“Working alongside creators, artists, media and music companies to transform media has been a privilege.”


Outside of his music industry dealings on YouTube music licensing and Content ID, Kyncl – who worked at Netflix before joining YouTube in 2010 – was also responsible for leading the creative team in recent years. original YouTube content.

In Susan Wojcicki’s memo today, the YouTube CEO confirmed that Kyncl will be replaced in her current role by Mary Ellen Coe.

Coe will be promoted to chief commercial officer of YouTube after her role as president of customer solutions at Google. She spent the last 10 years at Google.

You can read Susan Wojcicki’s full memo announcing Robert Kync’s departure below.


Hello everyone,

After 12 years of building YouTube’s business organization into the powerhouse it is today, with a talented global team, millions of successful creators, and strong partnerships across multiple industries, Robert has decided to leave YouTube. in 2023 to begin the next chapter of his career. . Under his leadership, YouTube forged new relationships and partnerships across music, traditional media and technology, and our ecosystem of creators. Without it, the term “YouTuber” would not be a common term. Thanks to Robert and his management team, we are a significant contributor to the media industry, having paid over $30 billion to creators, artists and media companies over the past 3 years. We owe much of our growth and impact to Robert’s leadership, and I want to celebrate his incredible contribution to YouTube.

The change gives us the opportunity to review where we are and where we need to go, and I’m really pleased to share that we have hired a new chief commercial officer, Mary Ellen Coe, to lead the commercial organization. Mary Ellen has spent the past 10 years at Google, most recently as President of Customer Solutions at the Global Business Organization (GBO), serving millions of customers and thousands of partners worldwide. She has extensive experience working with small businesses and can bring that expertise to our work with creators, many of whom are their own small businesses. Prior to Google, she worked in the consumer, media and technology industries for over a decade as a partner at McKinsey & Company. I have had the privilege of working with Mary Ellen over the years and she is a smart and efficient leader who cares deeply about our users and her staff. She will start on October 3rd and will report to Christina, Gautam, Lyor, Pedro, Tara and our recently hired Vice President of Product Partnerships, Miguel.

Given the complexity of our business, I appreciate that Robert is staying on to ensure a smooth leadership transition and complete key projects in the music and product partnerships.

I want to thank Robert for his dedication to YouTube for all these years. He is exceptional at what he does and I am very grateful to him for the many years we have been able to work together. I will miss his candor, authenticity and humor – he is quite funny!

And please join me in welcoming Mary Ellen to YouTube.

Thanks,
SusannaThe music industry around the world

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