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Confirming widespread speculation, UMG has formally announced that Cindy Mabe will become chair/CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville effective 4/1, succeeding Mike Dungan, on whose impending retirement we recently reported. The highly respected Mabe is currently president of the label and now becomes UMGN’s first woman chief.

During her tenure at the company, Mabe has been instrumental in the careers of Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Darius Rucker, Brothers Osborne, Sam Hunt, Jon Pardi, Mickey Guyton, Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves, George Strait, Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire, to name a few.

"We’re thrilled to have Cindy step into this role," reads a comment from UMG ruler Sir Lucian Grainge. "She is a transformational executive who has a distinguished track record of designing and implementing innovative strategies to help build artists’ careers and bring their music to fans around the world. Cindy’s credibility in the artist community and her deep experience will help us deliver countless additional artist successes going forward."

"For the past 15 years, Mike Dungan has been my mentor and partner,” reads a quote from Mabe. “He's built one of the most enduring and impactful legacies in country-music history. He’s also been my friend. I’m grateful for the chance he took on me and so very proud of what we've built together over those 15 years with our staff and the most enviable roster in music. To now be in a position, as Mike’s successor, to advance the musical and cultural impact of Universal Music Group Nashville is truly a humbling honor.

"Country music has been my life’s passion. It’s my childhood and my future. It’s the heartbeat that speaks truth to all walks of life in the best and worst of times. It’s truly a gift to get to honor, protect and build the next era of country-music history with UMGN.

"I want to thank Sir Lucian Grainge for his belief in me, his brilliant leadership and for building this incredible culture that puts artists and music first.”

Mabe, like Dungan, started at UMGN in 2012, initially as SVP marketing. The North Carolina native previously served—also with Dungan—at Capitol Nashville.

She has done extensive philanthropic work with The First Responders Children’s Foundation, which bestowed upon her its Hero Award.

Photo: Kevin Wimpy, UMG