Sylvia Rhone, the trailblazing U.S. record executive, has been bumped up to chairman and CEO of Epic Records, a reward for her “critical leadership role” and knack for delivering hits at the music giant.
Rhone, the highest-ranking African-American woman at Sony Music, was appointed as president of Epic Records in 2014 and, in the five since, broke a long lineup of acts, including Camila Cabello, Travis Scott, Future, 21 Savage, Meghan Trainor, DJ Khaled and French Montana.
Prior to joining Epic, Rhone became the first African-American woman to lead a major record company when, in 1994, she was appointed as chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group’s Elektra Entertainment Group. She began her career at Buddah Records in 1974 after graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Earlier this month, she received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music.
At Epic Records, Rhone will lead the famed label’s overall creative direction and management, and continue to report to Rob Stringer, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment.
Rhone is a “trailblazing and iconic executive who has played a critical leadership role in driving Epic’s recent artist development success,” Stringer says in a statement announcing her promotion. “Her wealth of experience and passionate support of artistic vision will help us further grow the reach of Epic’s roster around the world.”
A regular inclusion in U.S. music industry power rankings, Rhone, born and raised in Harlem, shared some insights into her rise up the corporate ladder for a feature published last year in Billboard.
“As a woman, you have to come from a position of confidence,” she told the trade title. “There’s a certain gift that women have in their management style that’s more inclusive than a male counterpart’s. One of the keys is to always be your best self. There’s no secret formula to it. You just have to understand that you’re managing a team of people, whether it’s two or 100, that is far more important than you.”
On June 5, Midem will host a keynote interview with Rhone and entertainment lawyer Dina LaPolt at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France. The following day, Rhone will receive the Midem 2019 Hall of Fame Award, in association with Billboard, in recognition of her “outstanding contribution” to the international music business and for overseeing an artist-driven culture at the label.