Universal Music Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge was hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus, several sources exclusively advised Variety. He is now receiving treatment at Los Angeles’ UCLA Medical Center, sources said.
A UMG spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. Word of Grainge’s illness has rattled West Coast power players who attended his 60th birthday party on Feb. 29 at Palm Springs, multiple business insiders said.
The likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook, veteran music director Irving Azoff, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue attended the celebration 15 days ago as of Sunday, said sources. Indicators of COVID-19, including fever and shortness of breath, can appear up to two weeks after disease. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment. A rep for Azoff did not comment.
The event was held in La Quinta’s Madison Club, an enclave of private residences on a pristine golf course. Kris Jenner owns a $12 million, 7-bedroom mansion locally. Kim Kardashian West and kanye West were recently \linked to a property purchase near the matriarch, as was daughter Kylie Jenner. Additional residents include Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford, Sly Stallone, Scooter Braun, Ray Romano and Alan Smolinsky, one of the owners of this Los Angeles Dodgers.
Communal facilities at the Madison Club have been closed down in reaction to Grainge’s ailment, said two people familiar with the issue. Including club house and the golf course, said insiders. Management at the Madison Club did not respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
UMG’s Santa Monica, Calif., headquarters had been closed late Friday after an unidentified employee — who was Grainge — tested positive for the disease. All staffers were led to leave the buildings”in an organized fashion,” though the discovery was made toward the end of the day along with a source informed Variety which most of the staff had either left for the weekend or were already working at home.
An internal memo obtained by Variety reads in part,”Formerly, we have dedicated that if there were to be a verified instance of coronavirus infection in any of our offices, we would immediately close that place. We have just been advised that there is a confirmed case of disease in a worker based within our 2220 Colorado Avenue offices. Accordingly and out of an abundance of caution, we are instantly closing all of our Santa Monica offices, and all Santa Monica personnel are required to work from house until further notice.” The source added that direction already had intended to close the offices next week.
Grainge, 60, that gave a uncommon in-depth interview to Variety in December, has been with the company for nearly 35 years and was termed chairman/CEO at 2011. He began his career 1979 in April Blackwood Music Publishing and held senior roles at RCA Music Publishing and MCA Records before linking UMG at 1986 to start PolyGram Music Publishing UK. Within five years, he had headed the fledgling division to become one of the three printing companies in that nation. He climbed through the ranks through senior roles at Polydor Records, Universal Music UK and UMG International ensued until he was appointed CEO at 2010, with the chairman name added the following year.
Only months after taking the helm, he led the company to one of the greatest deals in music business history by obtaining EMI’s recorded-music division — home to artists ranging from the Beatles to Katy Perry — in a blockbuster $1.9 billion trade that vaulted UMG much into the lead as the world’s largest music company. UMG, which was recently valued at $33.6 billion and sold 10percent of itself to Chinese giant Tencent, is currently the biggest music company in history, together with five anchor labels — Capitol, Def Jam, Interscope-Geffen-A&M, Island and Republic — and also a roster that also includes Taylor Swift, Drake, U2, the Weeknd and Sam Smith, as well as iconic heritage acts such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Chuck Berry and the Motown catalogue.
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