John Kennedy headed record companies internationally and in the UK from 1996. Before that he was a prominent and successful music industry lawyer representing many major recording artists and working with major and independent record companies.
Most recently, Kennedy was President and COO of Universal Music International between 2001 and 2004. Prior to that, he was Chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK.
Born in London in 1953, Kennedy read law at Leicester University. In 1978 he joined the business affairs department at Phonogram (now Mercury UK) where a year later he became director of business affairs. From there he moved to become director of business affairs at CBS Records UK.
In 1984 Kennedy left the record industry to be the founding partner of a successful music and entertainment law firm, JP Kennedy & Co. During this time he was involved with many major artists and managers, and played a key role in the Band Aid and Live Aid projects - for which he was honoured with an OBE from the British government in 1985.
Kennedy returned to the recording industry in 1996 to head the then PolyGram UK company. When PolyGram was merged with Universal Music in 1998, Kennedy continued to head its UK operations until moving to Universal Music International in 2001.
During his time at Universal Music International, Kennedy was actively involved in the work of IFPI. He participated on the Main Board from 2002 to 2004 and chaired IFPI's European Regional Board from 2003 until his departure from UMI in February 2004.
In September 2004 it was announced that Kennedy will become Chairman and CEO of IFPI as from January 1 2005.