How Jody Gerson Became Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group

Jody Gerson at the UMPG’s Santa Monica office. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Times recently interviewed Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO and Universal Music Publishing Group. UMPG is the world’s second largest music publisher and represents songwriters like Eminem, Big Sean, and Lady Gaga.

Gerson’s career began in the mid-’80s at Chappell Music, where she spent much of her time in the tape room compiling new music for the company’s higher-ups to hear. “I would be the first one in and the last one out at the office every day,” Gerson told the LA Times. “I loved it, and I was going to do whatever it took.”

After spending six years at Chappell, Gerson landed executive positions at EMI Music Publishing and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where she signed a then 14-year-old Alicia Keys and Latin sensation Enrique Iglesias. That’s also when Gerson signed the not-yet-famous Lady Gaga, who later recorded her first hit, “Just Dance.” “What my experience with Gaga did was solidify the fact that I was empowered to truly help an artist break,” Gerson said.

In 2014, Gerson left Sony/ATV for Universal Music Publishing Group to serve as chairman and CEO, becoming the first woman to head a major music publisher. Since then, the 54-year-old has signed superstars like Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and Ariana Grande.

Related: An Interview With Wendy Goldstein, Republic Records’ Head of Urban A&R