Seymour Stein, who co-founded Sire Records in 1967 before teaming with Warner Music Group in 1978, has announced his departure from the major music company.

The industry veteran responsible for signing and developing acts like Madonna, the Ramones and the Smiths, has hinted at a return to his “indie roots.”

madonna and seymour stein
Madonna and Seymour Stein

“In truth,” he said of his departure, “I long for my indie roots and the greater independence that I experienced back in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. So the time has come to move on to the next phase of my career, leaving Sire in the hands of Rani Hancock, whom I sincerely wish all the luck in the world.

“I’m very proud that Sire was named the #15 label of the past 100 years in a major poll conducted by Variety earlier this year. I trust that it will continue to be a place where great songs and great artists will live for many years to come.”

Stein assures he will remain an active part of the global music industry. “I’m looking forward to the future and continuing to develop new artists in the music business that I love so much,” he said.

The announcement arrived as Stein received the Recording Academy’s Trustees Award in LA

The Recording Academy’s Trustees Award was presented by artist and author Henry Rollins.

“Seymour is the ultimate visionary indie, hearts & minds music executive of all time,” Rollins said at the Special Merit Awards ceremony and tribute concert. “His unquenchable passion has made the world a better, more open, free and cool place for almost six decades… Seymour, thank you for being the kind of record man that makes music history.”