Connie Bruck on Leonard Blavatnik

Blavatnik’s most audacious acquisition is a company: Warner Music, which he bought, in 2011, for $3.3 billion. Associates say he liked the idea of owning a firm that was both quintessentially American and known worldwide. One of them told me, “Len doesn’t love music—he loves what it can do for him socially.” When Blavatnik took over Warner Music, executives suggested that he visit the company’s offices around the world, to reassure employees that he would be a good owner. But the employees were dismayed by Blavatnik’s taste in music, which runs to Leonard Cohen and Theodore Bikel, who portrayed Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” They also were disturbed by his life style. After Blavatnik took a trip to Asia, one employee said, “It was more like a rock group touring than an executive trip. People were saying, ‘Who is this guy that owns our company? Is it just going to be his toy?’ ”

The article is closed for non subscribers, but I managed to copy this passage:

Warner throws substantially more parties than it did before Blavatnik took over, and a social “concierge” has been hired. According to former employees, Blavatnik has said that he wants lots of beautiful women at his events, and not too many men; he is often photographed, in one of his signature cream-colored suits, with his arm around the likes of the model Naomi Campbell or the Warner singer Joss Stone. But the music industry is worth roughly half what it was a decade ago, and it is moving uncertainly toward a digital future. At an early party, Blavatnik met Roger Ames, who in the nineteen-eighties and nineties ran London Records as it entered its coke-laced, orgiastic heyday (portrayed in John Niven’s novel “Kill Your Friends,” which Blavatnik apparently considered financing as a movie project). “I bought a record company at the wrong time,” Blavatnik told Ames. “You guys had all the fun!”

via The New Yorker.

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