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Sire Records Names Rani Hancock President; Founder Seymour Stein Remains Chairman (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 7/10/2017 Shirley Halperin
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Rani Hancock has been named president of Sire Records. Her start date is Aug. 1. Seymour Stein, who co-founded the Warner Music Group label in 1967 with Richard Gottehrer, will remain as chairman.

The A&R veteran who, in her previous stints at RCA and Island Records has worked with Kesha, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato, joins a select group of female label heads, which includes Epic Records’ Sylvia Rhone, and Motown’s Ethiopia Habtemariam. Her hiring marks one of the first major moves by incoming Warner CEO for Recorded Music Max Lousada, who takes on his new role beginning Oct. 1.

Sire Records recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a series of commemorative events and products — its legacy includes launching The Ramones, Talking Heads and Madonna. With Hancock’s arrival, the label “is being reborn,” notes WMG’s announcement. Additionally, says Stein, “This year [is] my 60th year in the music business. It has been my dream to be joined by someone I can work together with to help strengthen and expand the label. Given Rani’s exceptional track record and tremendous enthusiasm, I am convinced she is the person to build both the Sire roster and brand, and help take the company into the future.”

Adds Lousada of Hancock’s appointment: “Whether it’s artists or executives, we’re focused on attracting and developing true talent who will pioneer the future of music. Rani is the perfect example of our approach, as her own rare qualities will, in turn, draw original, genre-defying artists to Sire. Seymour built the label into a home for many of the world’s most influential artists, and I believe Rani will help us reignite Sire as a beacon for the bravest and biggest stars. She’s a first-class addition to our leadership, not only in the U.S., but on the global stage.”

“Over the past half-century, Sire has stood for quality, integrity and an intense devotion to artists,” says Cameron Strang, Warner Bros. chairman. “Seymour and Sire have played a central role in the story of Warner Bros. Records and helped set a new standard in the art of artist development. Rani is the perfect leader to grow Sire’s amazing legacy and chart a new course for this iconic label. She has great ears for discovering unique artists and outstanding instincts for making records. On behalf of everyone at Warner Bros., I welcome her to Sire and to the family.”

Hancock said, “I’ve always been inspired by Sire’s roster of artists and the label’s fearless, independent spirit. So many great Sire artists have pushed the boundaries of music and fashion, while having pop hits that appeal to a mainstream audience, from Madonna to the Ramones, from Talking Heads to the Pretenders. I hope to continue that tradition of finding and supporting culture-changing artists who make hugely popular music that withstands the test of time.”

Hancock began her career at Arista Records, working in A&R Administration as an assistant and eventually rising to Director. In 2000, Clive Davis recruited her to his just-launched “instant major” J Records as VP A&R and A&R Administration. She followed Davis through the Sony-BMG merger from J to RCA, then back to Arista and ultimately the RCA Music Group. During her Sony Music tenure, Hancock signed and A&R’d such artists as Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Pitbull, Britney Spears, Magic!, Gavin Degraw, Mike Posner, Daughtry, and Adam Lambert, racking up multiple chart-topping singles and albums.

Most recently, Hancock served as EVP/Head of A&R for Island Records, where she worked with Lovato and Jonas and brought in Skip Marley and Olivia O’Brien.

She holds a degree in Music Production and Engineering from Berklee College of Music.

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