French media conglomerate Vivendi hopes it has found a leader inside its Universal Music Group to help guide it into the digital future.
Lucian Grainge, head of the music group's international operation, has been named chief executive, starting Jan. 1, 2011.
Until then, he will share responsibilities with Chairman and Chief Executive Doug Morris, who said in November that he planned to step down from the executive post. Morris, 71, remains chairman of the music group.
Grainge, 49, has spent the last five years running operations in 50 countries outside of North America and is credited with expanding Universal Music's reach through digital distribution as well as moving into new businesses, such as merchandise sales, live event production and artist services.
He assumes the reins of Universal Music at a time when music piracy continues to erode sales.
Universal Music, home to Eminem, the Black Eyed Peas and recent Grammy Award winners Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, reported a sales decline of 5.2% for the first nine months last year.