Universal Music UK appoints Sally Davies as Managing Director of Abbey Road Studios

Reporting to Universal Music UK COO David Sharpe, Davies will bring a wealth of leadership experience in world-renowned venues, theatre, festivals and events to Abbey Road during one of the most dynamic periods in the studios’ 92-year history.

Davies is joining Abbey Road from Vivendi Village where she was CEO of U-Live, the live promoter, producer and entertainment company within the Vivendi Group, a role in which she also oversaw Vivendi’s investments in live entertainment.

Davies’s 10-year tenure at U-Live – which included the company’s three years within Universal Music UK – saw her curate and nurture events celebrating music, lifestyle and culture – her successful festival portfolio including the jazz-focused Love Supreme and Kite, the Zeitgeist-tapping festival of music and ideas. She has also had one foot in immersive theatre since 2019 as the Producer of Mamma Mia the Party! alongside Björn Ulvaeus.

Prior to joining U-Live in 2012, Davies spent seven years with AEG as Assistant GM/Director of Events of The O2. She also held senior roles at two of London’s busiest tourist attractions, The London Eye and the Science Museum.

In recent years Abbey Road, which is part of Universal Music’s global studio network alongside other iconic locations such as Capitol Studios in California, has been the subject of significant investment since the 2012 UMG acquisition of EMI. Alongside its status as a destination for the world’s biggest recording artists and long-flourishing film score business, Abbey Road today demonstrates its passion for supporting emerging creatives with new studios and initiatives such as Equalise, which aims to inspire and empower young women aspiring to a career in music.

Recapturing the ethos of the studios’ earliest days, it is also a place with innovation at its heart, with music tech incubator programme Abbey Road Red leading the way on ethical and responsible AI for the creator community.

This new chapter in the Abbey Road story – captured so vividly in Mary McCartney’s 2022 documentary If These Walls Could Sing – starts with Davies’ arrival this week.

Giles Martin says, “Sally’s wealth of experience dealing with artists around the world linked to her empathy and knowledge of music is the perfect fit for Abbey Road. She has a passion for innovation as well as understanding the extraordinary legacy of the world’s most famous recording studio. I am beyond excited to work alongside her in bringing the next generation of artists to Abbey Road Studios.”

David Joseph, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music UK says, “I’ve known Sally for a long time so it was an easy decision to appoint her to one of the most important leadership positions in our industry, at the forefront of world class recordings, sound innovation and creative education. Sally balances creativity and business strategy exceptionally well and I couldn’t be happier to welcome her back to the Universal Music family.”

Sally Davies, Managing Director, Abbey Road Studios says, “It’s truly an honour and privilege to be taking on the role of Managing Director of Abbey Road Studios, a place of great music and ground-breaking sound. I’m excited about going on this journey with the fantastic team who have fostered the environment of creativity and innovation, and help make Abbey Road the special place that it is.”

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